Senate committee passes cigarette tax hike

Senate committee passes cigarette tax hike

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Legislators worked late hours at the State Capitol Tuesday night as the Senate Finance Committee looked at a bundle of tax measures to try and plug a $1.8 billion budget gap.

One of those bills is a tax hike on cigarettes from Rep. Harold Ritchie. Lawmakers took the House proposal, which upped the cost by 32 cents per pack, and doubled it to raise more money.

Economists say a 64 cent tax increase, would mean $135 million to put toward budget woes.

Rep. Ritchie referenced paying for healthcare costs related to smoking as one of his.

"In each one of those conditions, I'm going to spend more than $40,000 so that money is going to come out of the non-smoking public's pocket, and that's why I think we aught to increase the price of cigarettes," said Rep. Ritchie, D-Bogalusa.

The Senate committee adopted that amendment without objection.

The bill now heads to the Senate floor.

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