KCUR News
5:16 pm
Mon January 11, 2010

Smoker Taxes May Hit Legislative Hopper

Kansas City, Kan. – When the Kansas governor gives his State of the State address this evening he will outline proposals to balance the budget with a shortfall nearing $400 million in the next fiscal year. Tobacco taxes are expected to be on the agenda.

Governor Mark Parkinson has already said he would ask lawmakers to raise the tax, now at 79 cents a pack. The national average is a dollar 34. Aides will not suggest the governor's exact proposal.

At a cigarette shop in Kansas City Kansas, Tobacco Road, manager Rick Carson expects to hear a call to raise the tax by 55 cents a pack. He believes there is a larger movement to eliminate smoking eventually--" Shops like this are a thorn in their butts. I don't believe they want smoke shops any longer anywhere in the United States. I mean, they are taking us right out of business."

An effort to raise Kansas tobacco taxes last year failed in the legislature. Many members refused to raise taxes of any form. The governor has said he will not propose significant cuts in education, social services or other programs to attempt to balance the budget.