Legislation that hikes cigarette and liquor taxes to pay for Medicaid failed to clear the Mississippi House Thursday night, although it could come up for debate again as a special session continues.
Even if House Bill 17 survives that chamber, it appears doomed in the Senate. Most state senators support a tax on hospitals. Also, Gov. Haley Barbour is expected to veto a tobacco tax hike.
Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant called the House measure “an exercise in futility.”
“I want a bill that funds a $90 million deficit, passes the House and Senate and is signed by the governor,” he said. “We can do that (today) and go home.”
But House Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi, said the House “is apprehensive that costs will be dumped on third parties or individuals that ultimately could lead to higher monthly insurance premiums for individuals, employers and governments.”