Smokers may pay more next year. Governor Mark Parkinson plans to ask lawmakers to increase tobacco taxes in 2010. The money would be used for either health care programs or the general fund.
"There's no doubt smoking is bad for you. But there are a lot of other places that are not taxed nearly to the extent that tobacco is taxed," said manager of ABC Fine Cigars Joe Vas. He says if the state is looking to generate revenue, it should look further than his customers. "It is a sin tax that's being beat to death."
Right now smokers pay 79 cents per pack in taxes. By raising that tax to the national average of $1.34, Kansas would raise $88 million next year. "It seems like tobacco is always a target when the government is trying to raise money. I don't think that's fair at all," he said.
Vas would prefer lawmakers look at taxing other industries that are considered unhealthy. "Fast food is a perfect example. It's too cheap and easy to buy a Big Mac and that impacts how many people," Vas said.
The governor will announce his formal plans on tobacco next year. Senate President Steve Morris says he'd support a tobacco tax increase. He says it's probably the only tax increase that has any chance of getting through the legislature.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Source: Kansas CW