New Orleans to Increase Cigarette Tax
Louisiana’s “no new taxes” Gov. Bobby Jindal is now thinking about an increase in the state’s cigarette tax.
Now, Louisiana has 36 cents per cigarette pack – much lower than other states.
Texas and Arkansas both imposed more than a dollar a pack. The national average is a $1.47.
Customers at the Super Discount store in Chalmette claim the tax on cigarettes is already raised.
“How are we going to go on?” said Gwendolyn Carter. “If people want smoking cigarettes, the y should relax and welcome raised prices again. It’s absurd.”
“If they want to increase tax on cigarettes, they should increase the pay raises, too,” said Albert Lavigne.
Faye Chaussy added that cigarettes are harmful for people’s health, but people work hard for their life and the government should not increase taxes on cigarettes.
Just a couple of years ago, Jindal was against a 70% pack increase in the cigarette tax. In 2012, he vetoed a 4 cent tax renewal on cigarettes.
This year the administration is ready to review the situation as part of a broader debate about removing personal and corporate income taxes.
“The government has always said that new measure will be a successful, if it was done in an income neutral way,” Jindal said. “We are ready to take into account other changes as element of a larger efforts to remove the income tax in an income neutral way.”
Anti-smoking advocates point out increased cigarette tax is a good thing.
“As the cigarette tax raises, use actually reduces, particularly among youngsters and people with lower income,” said Tonia Moore, associate director for Louisiana’s Campaign for Smoke-Free Living.
Smokers have mixed reactions on the result of higher taxes.
“If they continue to increase the taxes, smokers will probably quit smoking,” said Chaussy.
“There are a lot of smokers that tried to quit smoking,” said Lavigne. Chaussy confessed that had tried many times, even used the nicotine replacement therapies and that it is difficult to stop everyone from smoking.
Tax reform package of Jindal is predicted to be regarded by lawmakers in the course of the next legislative session.
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