Override Gov. Jindal's tobacco tax veto
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Tell lawmakers to override Gov. Jindal’s irresponsible, indefensible tobacco tax veto!
On Monday evening, Governor Bobby Jindal carried out his threat to veto HB 591 by Rep. Harold Ritchie (D-Bogalusa), a bill which simply extended an existing, four-cent tax on a pack of cigarettes.
The tax, which generates $12 million a year for the state, is dedicated to providing health care services. The revenue triggers even more money in federal matching funds, meaning the state will lose much more than the tax brings in.
At just 36 cents per pack, Louisiana already has one of the lowest tobacco taxes in the nation. Reducing it by four cents has economists and health care experts scratching their heads about the wisdom of Gov. Jindal’s veto.
Louisiana Federation of Teachers President Steve Monaghan said the governor’s decision directly contradicts the wishes of the people of the state.
“The people understand that Louisiana has one of the worst health care records in the nation,” Monaghan said, “and they believe that taxing cigarettes is one way to discourage smoking and to help pay for the damage caused by addiction to tobacco.”
Monaghan pointed out that in a recent survey by the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication, 68.2 percent of the people believe that cigarette taxes should actually be increased.
The legislature was right to extend the four-cent tax on cigarettes. In vetoing the bill, Governor Jindal chose political ideology and ambition over the health and fiscal soundness of the state. He came down on the side of cigarettes, addiction, cancer and death.
Please click the link and ask your Senator and Representative to override the governor’s veto of HB 591.