The Hattiesburg American, 12/30/8

The tobacco tax once again will be a front-and-center battle of the 2009 legislative session, said state Sens. Tom King, R-Petal, and Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, during a meeting Monday with the Hattiesburg American editorial board.

But this time, the battle won’t be whether there will be an increase in the tax – that’s a given, said Fillingane, since it was recommended by the governor’s tax study commission – but over how much of an increase and where the revenue will go.

Gov. Haley Barbour has proposed a 24-cent increase per pack on name brands and 43 cents on cheaper off-brands.