Barbour: Cigarette tax increase possible if part of package

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour says he's open to a future cigarette tax increase IF it's part of a comprehensive package to give Mississippians "a significant tax cut."

The Republican has steadily vetoed bills that would've INCREASED Mississippi's cigarette tax from 18-cents-a-pack to a-dollar-a-pack and DECREASED the 7 percent grocery tax.

Mississippi has the third-lowest cigarette excise tax and the highest state grocery tax in the nation.

Barbour - who's seeking a second term - said during the legislative session this year that officials should conduct a comprehensive study of the Mississippi tax code, and that such as study might lead to tax cuts in a year or two.

He told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal newspaper editorial board yesterday Tuesday that a tax study is needed to make sure the tax cut is done fairly.

Lawmakers would have to approve any changes in the state tax structure.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)