Miss. cigarette tax increasing 1st time since ’85

Published 5:25 pm Thursday, May 14, 2009

Republican Gov. Haley Barbour, a former tobacco lobbyist long opposed to raising Mississippi’s cigarette tax, has relented in the face of slumping budget revenues and signed the state’s first increase in nearly a quarter century.

Mississippi’s 18-cents-a-pack excise tax hadn’t changed since 1985 before Wednesday’s bill signing. On Friday, it goes up to 68 cents a pack.

Barbour spokesman Dan Turner said the governor declined to comment on the legislation.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The tax hike comes as Mississippi struggles with an estimated revenue shortfall of $400 million for the year that ends June 30. The cigarette tax is estimated to generate more than $113 million for the year that begins July 1.