BATON ROUGE — Louisiana’s cigarette tax would be raised to match the rate charged by neighboring Mississippi, under a proposal that won approval Monday from the House tax committee as part of broader budget-balancing negotiations.

The bill offered a much smaller tax hike than health advocates wanted. But Rep. Harold Ritchie, D-Bogalusa, agreed to shrink the increase, saying he thought that was the only way to get his legislation to the full House for debate.

The proposal would raise Louisiana’s cigarette tax from 36 cents per pack to 68 cents, rather than the $1.54 national average Ritchie initially sought.
The House Ways and

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