By MELINDA DESLATTE
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A proposal to raise Louisiana's cigarette tax has been rejected by lawmakers.
The House Ways and Means Committee voted 11-7 against the bill by Monroe Rep. Katrina Jackson to raise the current 36-cent per pack tax to 68 cents, the rate charged in Mississippi.
Jackson's proposal would have let voters in a statewide election decide whether to increase the tax.
The tax hike faced opposition from anti-tax groups, tobacco companies and owners of stores that sell cigarettes. In an unusual twist, the tax increase also was criticized by the American Cancer Society as too low to decrease smoking rates.
A day earlier, the sponsor of a higher tobacco tax increase shelved the bill, saying he didn't have enough votes.
House Bill 537 can be found at www.legis.la.gov
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