BATON ROUGE, La. - In a move designed to bypass the prospect of a governor veto and head instead to voters for consideration, the Louisiana House "reinvigorated" a proposal to renew Louisiana€™s 4-cent cigarette tax, amending the tax proposal into a (Governor) Jindal administration bill to redirect part of the tobacco settlement money to the state€™s college tuition program (TOPS), the Associated Press reports.
Earlier this session, while a super-majority of the Louisiana House and Senate backed extension of the tax, Jindal vetoed the measure, and the House refused to override him.
But earlier this week, state Rep. Harold Ritchie amended the proposal. If backed by the Senate, it would head to voters for their consideration.
Jindal was noncommittal when asked whether he€™d sacrifice the tuition program because of the cigarette tax, suggesting the renewal could win final passage.
"While we are disappointed that the House amended the TOPS bill to include the cigarette tax, we can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. TOPS is too important to our children and to the future of our state," Jindal said in a statement.
Jindal firmly opposes the cigarette tax renewal, characterizing it as a tax increase. Supporters of the tax maintain it would deter smoking.
Louisiana€™s cigarette tax is scheduled to drop to 32 cents per pack in June 2012 without the renewal. The tax generates $12 million annually for the state.