Mississippi increases tax on cigarettes..

May 13, 2009 - Republican Gov. Haley Barbour, a former tobacco lobbyist long opposed to raising Mississippi’s cigarette tax, has relented in the face of slumping budget revenues and signed the state’s first increase in nearly a quarter century.

Mississippi’s 18-cents-a-pack excise tax hadn’t changed since 1985 before Wednesday’s bill signing. On Friday, it goes up to 68 cents a pack. Barbour spokesman Dan Turner said the governor declined to comment on the legislation.

The tax hike comes as Mississippi struggles with an estimated revenue shortfall of $400 million for the year that ends June 30.

The cigarette tax is estimated to generate more than $113 million for the year that begins July 1, 2009.

Reference: Gov. Barbor Signs Off On Cigarette Tax Increase, , 5/13/2009.

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