A bill in the Mississippi legislature that would provide a number of changes to the state’s tax laws would increase the tax on premium cigars if passed.

House Bill 1439, which passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday by an 85-34 vote, would increase the tax on premium cigars from 15 percent of the wholesale price to 25 percent. In practical terms, a cigar with an MSRP of $9.50 would go from $10.93 to $11.88 before sales tax by halfwheel estimates.

The bill is seeking to gradually eliminate the state’s income tax and shift revenue generation to sales tax, increasing that rate from 7 percent to 9.5 percent, making it the highest in the nation. While the state’s tax on groceries would go down, taxes on alcohol, farm equipment, vehicles and manufacturing machinery would all go up.

The bill now heads to the Senate for debate.

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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.