A top priority of Gov. Mitch Daniels -- raising the cigarette tax to fund a health insurance plan for hundreds of thousands of Indiana's poor -- was rejected Tuesday by the Indiana House, a vote that left its prospects hazy at best.
The House voted 52-44 against a bill that would have raised the state's 55.5 cents-per-pack cigarette tax by 25 cents. That's the minimum Daniels had sought, and far from the $1 that anti-smoking advocates had wanted.
Yeah, yeah, I know. It would have reduced the number of smokers, raised $120 million that could have been leveraged into $480 million to provide coverage for 120,000 uninsured Hoosiers and improved the overall health of the state. But it was still a tax increase, and it's nice to see legislators resist one at least once in a while. OK, all of you who say we have relatively low taxes here and Hoosiers are just a bunch of backward skinflints may now commence your whining. I'll get my turn soon enough.