Editorial: Cigarette Tax - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Editorial: Cigarette Tax

The Mississippi House voted this week to increase the state's excise tax on cigarettes by $1 a pack.

At only 18 cents a pack, Mississippi has one of the lowest excise rates on cigarettes in the nation. In our WDAM.com web poll this week 62% of you agreed with the House on raising the tobacco tax while 38% said no. 

Under the House plan, the cigarette tax would go to the financially strapped Medicaid program. Governor Haley Barbour stood solidly against the tobacco tax increase last year saying he did so because he was against raising taxes in any form. However, this year the Governor has a plan to impose a hospital bed tax to help pay for Medicaid. 

Even though the bill passed by a 74 to 42 margin in the House, it is expected to die in the Senate. Even if the Senate should pass it, Barbour is expected to veto it. 

I don't get it. None of us like taxes. But, if given the choice to impose an additional bed tax on folks who have to stay in the hospital in the midst of a health care crisis, something not helped by smoking by the way, or putting a tax on smokers to indulge their habit - well it just seems like a no brainer to me. 

I'm not one of those rabid anti-smokers. But just maybe the higher tax will encourage some to quit. If not, it will keep people who have to go to the hospital from having to pay even more for a bed. Once again, it's about priorities and common sense. Unfortunately, these qualities all too often get lost in the world of politics. 

I'm Jim Cameron and that's today's viewpoint.  Let us know what you think.

Email Jim Cameron at jcameron@wdam.com

  • Local NewsLOCALMore>>

  • Beer may lack fizz in Europe amid carbon dioxide shortage

    Beer may lack fizz in Europe amid carbon dioxide shortage

    Wednesday, June 20 2018 6:51 AM EDT2018-06-20 10:51:23 GMT
    Friday, June 22 2018 5:16 AM EDT2018-06-22 09:16:32 GMT
    (Nigel French/PA via AP). England supporters celebrate Harry Kane's winning goal as fans watch the World Cup soccer match between Tunisia and England at the Lord Raglan Pub in London, Monday, June 18, 2018.(Nigel French/PA via AP). England supporters celebrate Harry Kane's winning goal as fans watch the World Cup soccer match between Tunisia and England at the Lord Raglan Pub in London, Monday, June 18, 2018.
    A British trade group says there's a shortage of carbon dioxide in Northern Europe _ sparking fears that drinks may lack fizz just as thirsty soccer fans fill pubs for the World Cup.More >>
    A British trade group says there's a shortage of carbon dioxide in Northern Europe _ sparking fears that drinks may lack fizz just as thirsty soccer fans fill pubs for the World Cup.More >>
  • Lower costs, fewer benefits in new health insurance option

    Lower costs, fewer benefits in new health insurance option

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 12:10 AM EDT2018-06-19 04:10:52 GMT
    Friday, June 22 2018 5:03 AM EDT2018-06-22 09:03:00 GMT
    As originally proposed, the new "association health plans" would have to cover people with pre-existing health conditions. However, they could offer narrower benefits than required under the Obama-era health law. (Source: Raycom Media)As originally proposed, the new "association health plans" would have to cover people with pre-existing health conditions. However, they could offer narrower benefits than required under the Obama-era health law. (Source: Raycom Media)

    Trump administration prepares to announce a new insurance option for small firms and self-employed people.

    More >>

    Trump administration prepares to announce a new insurance option for small firms and self-employed people.

    More >>
  • Smoking hits new low; about 14 percent of US adults light up

    Smoking hits new low; about 14 percent of US adults light up

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 1:10 AM EDT2018-06-19 05:10:52 GMT
    Friday, June 22 2018 2:12 AM EDT2018-06-22 06:12:55 GMT
    (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File). FILE - In this June 22, 2012, file photo, a smoker snuffs out a cigarette at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. The rate of smoking among adults in the U.S. fell to about 14 percent in 2017, according to new data relea...(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File). FILE - In this June 22, 2012, file photo, a smoker snuffs out a cigarette at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. The rate of smoking among adults in the U.S. fell to about 14 percent in 2017, according to new data relea...
    Smoking by US adults hits another all-time low; about 14 percent smoke cigarettes.More >>
    Smoking by US adults hits another all-time low; about 14 percent smoke cigarettes.More >>
Powered by Frankly