Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said last week he would oppose a legislative effort to renew a 4 cent per-pack tax on cigarettes that is due to expire next year.

Jindal said he would consider any move to extend the tax as a tax hike, which he has vowed to never sign into law.

“If it requires legislative action, we believe that’s an increase,” he said.

The tax was levied by the 2000 Legislature, and extended two years later. It expires at the end of fiscal 2012. The current tax is 36 cents, the third lowest of any state.

Rep. Harold Ritchie, D-Franklin, proposed a bill to make the 4-cent tax permanent, and add another 70 cents, which would bring the total permanent tax to $1.06 per pack. He said the higher tax would generate $178 million a year.

Jindal said he would veto Ritchie’s bill if it is approved by the Legislature. Passage would require two-thirds approval in both chambers.

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