Djournal.com Capital Blog, 2/17/9

The versions of the cigarette tax legislation passed earlier this session by the Senate and House had many differences, chief among them the amount of the increase.

But the versions passed by the two chambers had at least one key point in common. Both chambers passed legislation based on the assumption the increase – whatever size was finally agreed to – would take effect this fiscal year.

The Senate, in particular, talked about a March 1 enactment date to garner funds this fiscal year to ensure that local governments had enough money to prevent a possible increase in the cost of car tags.

February is quickly slip-sliding away and the negotiators appointed by House Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi, and Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, who presides over the Senate, have yet to meet – at least in public.