The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 1/10/9

The House Democratic leadership decided Friday not to vote on a proposal to raise the cigarette tax 82 cents per pack to $1.

House Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi, had said Thursday the House would vote on the issue the next day. A Republican minority’s parliamentary maneuver blocked the vote Thursday.

House Ways and Means Chairman Percy Watson, D-Hattiesburg, said he decided not to call the legislation up Friday, which some members viewed as a travel day and did not want to have a lengthy debate.

Some members also want to reduce the size of the tax increase and others – especially certain members of the Democratic leadership – want to dedicate at least a portion of the funds to health care.