Kansas legislators approve tax increases to balance budget*The CDC reported in 2013 that people below the poverty level are more likely to smoke:
By JOHN HANNA and NICHOLAS CLAYTON
1 hour ago
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican legislators in Kansas narrowly approved tax increases Friday, responding to pleas from their leaders and a warning from GOP Gov. Sam Brownback's aides about draconian spending cuts that could result if they didn't erase a budget deficit.
The plan, drafted by Republicans, raises sales and cigarette taxes to generate $384 million in new revenues during the next fiscal year.
One bill raises the state sales tax to 6.5 percent, from 6.15 percent. The House approved it 63-44 early Friday, and the Senate passed it 21-19 Friday afternoon. A second bill raises the cigarette tax by 50 cents a pack, to $1.29. It also includes a modest increase in taxes for business owners and farmers.
One contentious issue was how much to increase taxes for the 281,000 business owners and 53,000 farmers who no longer pay income taxes on their profits under a 2012 policy championed by Brownback....Lawmakers agreed to raise their taxes by $24 million during the next fiscal year, the top amount acceptable to Brownback.
Topeka Capitol-Journal and the Kansas City Star have additional coverage and plenty of interesting comments.