CL – “Former” tobacco lobbyiest right to equalize tobacco tax

Critics of former tobacco lobbyist Gov. Haley Barbour’s call to raise cigarette taxes on companies that didn’t participate in the state’s tobacco lawsuit settlement and change the way the state taxes smokeless tobacco claim he’s doing so to help some of his old lobbying clients.

Those critics say Barbour’s trying to “level the playing field” for companies that sell premium brand cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products – companies he once represented.

Quite frankly, that’s an intriguing political allegation and one that non-participating tobacco manufacturers and discount tobacco sellers would be expected to make.