Give the leadership of the Mississippi House credit for being persistent – perhaps downright stubborn – if nothing else.
Every year since 2004 the House has taken up legislation to increase Mississippi’s extraordinarily low cigarette tax. The House has passed cigarette tax legislation every year only to see it killed in the Senate, where Gov. Haley Barbour has been able to use his unprecedented influence.
It is no secret that the lobbying firm Barbour helped start and still receives revenue from makes a great deal of money representing tobacco companies.
That stubborn House leadership is trying again this year. A bill is making its way through the House committee process to increase the 18-cent-per-pack cigarette tax by $1, with the bulk of the additional revenue going to fund Medicaid, the federal-state program providing health care for the elderly, disabled, and poor pregnant women and children.