State cigarette tax could reach $1 a pack

JACKSON, MISS. (AP) - Negotiations on a proposed cigarette tax increase are off to a slow start at the Mississippi Capitol.

Three members from the House and three from the Senate met briefly Wednesday.

The House made an offer that reflected its original position, to take the cigarette tax from the current 18 cents a pack up to $1 a pack.

One new element in the House proposal is to direct some of the anticipated new revenue to specific programs for smoking cessation and into a fund that keeps car-tag prices from increasing.

Senators say they'll consider the House offer overnight. Weeks ago, the Senate voted to set the tax at 49 cents a pack.

Negotiators meet again Thursday.

The bill is House Bill 364.

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