La. House Renews Tobacco Tax

The Louisiana House reinvigorated a proposal Monday to renew the 4-cent cigarette tax, trying to sidetrack Gov. Bobby Jindal's veto of the measure.

A super-majority of the House and Senate backed the extension earlier this session. But Jindal vetoed the measure, and the House refused to override him.

On Monday, Rep. Harold Ritchie, D-Bogalusa, amended his tax proposal into a Jindal administration bill to redirect a stream of cigarettes settlement money to the state's free college tuition program, called TOPS.

The move, if backed by the Senate, would bypass Jindal and instead head to voters for consideration. Sen. John Alario, sponsor of the amended bill, said he expects to ask senators to reject the add-on.

"I would have to reject that," said Alario, R-Westwego. "That was not the intention of our bill."

Jindal gave a noncommittal statement about whether he'd sacrifice the bill because of the cigarette tax, leaving open a possibility the renewal could win final passage.

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