Lawmakers who travel High Street to reach the Mississippi Capitol get a daily reminder about an issue that hasn’t gone away despite the efforts of Gov. Haley Barbour.
A billboard with the image of smiling children on one side and a pack of Marlboro cigarettes on the other asks the question: “Whose side are you on: Big Tobacco or Mississippi’s children?”
The stark, black-and-white backdrop of the billboard is an apt depiction of a tax swap proposal that gained momentum in 2006 before fizzling under Barbour’s veto. The bill would have raised the 18-cents-a-pack excise tax on cigarettes and cut the state’s 7 percent grocery tax.