Report: 'Showdown on cigarette taxes, unemployment benefits today at Capitol'

The Times-Picayune’s Jan Moller previews the action expected Monday in the legislature.

As ever, the question is, “how to fund state government?”

By the time the House adjourns this evening, one of the following will almost certainly be true:
a) The (not so) great tax debate of 2009 will be pretty much done with after House Bill 889, which would raise cigarette taxes by 50 cents a pack, fails to get the 70 votes needed to send it to the Senate.

- Or -

b) The debate will be very much alive after the bill by Speaker Pro Tem Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, goes to the Senate with enough votes to override an expected veto from Gov. Bobby Jindal.

While most of the smart money is on option (a), the smart money hasn’t always been right this session, as everyone learned Thursday when the House unexpectedly ratified the Senate’s version of the $28.7 billion state budget and threw the state spending picture into the kind of disarray we haven’t seen for several years around the Capitol.

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Report: 'House bloc to reject bill delaying tax break to offset higher education cuts'

The Associated Press reports that a coalition of Republican and Democratic state lawmakers has united in opposition to a measure that would delay implementation of a scheduled state income tax reduction.

Forty-seven House members, enough to block a veto override, have promised to vote against a Senate proposal to reduce higher education funding cuts by delaying a tax break.

The mostly Republican bloc signed onto a news release, promising “No” votes against the proposal from Sen. Lydia Jackson to postpone by three years a tax break the Legislature approved in 2007. Others promising to vote against it include Independent Rep. Joel Robideaux and Democratic Reps. Taylor Barras, Simone Champagne, Bill Chandler, Noble Ellington and Bernard LeBas.

Jackson’s bill would delay from this year to 2012 a scheduled increase in the number of allowable income tax deductions for individual taxpayers.

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