Tobacco tax fails to get through legislative session
POSTED: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 6:30pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 11:42am
Baton Rouge, LA (NBC33) — The much discussed and hotly debated tobacco tax has seen its last day at the Capitol for this session.
The last bill, which introduced a $0.32 increase to the current tax, was really more of a compromise. It would have taken the tax to a statewide vote to get passed, but even the lowest proposed tax couldn't get out of committee.
In a unique move, members from the American Cancer Society sat side-by-side with tobacco whole sellers.
Both groups came out against the latest cigarette tax proposal for very different reasons.
"We only support amounts that will change behavior, reduce tobacco use and ultimately save lives and encourage adults to quit ," stated Andrew Muhl with the American Cancer Society.
"It's not good for business,” sis Jody Buckner with Lyons Specialty Co. “It's not good for employment. It affects our business negatively, so I am against the increase. "
The bill’s author, Katrina Jackson, hoped her bill would be the compromise needed to get the ball rolling on the increase.
“Yes, we make a choice to smoke - that's an individual choice,” said Jackson. “But Louisiana does not make the choice on the increase it costs us (as a state) to treat Medicaid patients that smoke. That's a choice that we don't have."
But in the end, the pleas weren't enough, and the tobacco tax goes up in smoke, for now.
As of right now, there are no more bills set to be heard on the tobacco tax.