Gov. Beshear Backs Cigarette Tax Increase

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh 

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and House Democratic leaders are offering competing plans for raising desperately needed state revenue, and both plans include a cigarette tax increase.

House democratic leaders were caught off-guard Thursday evening when they dropped by the governor’s office to share their plan for raising new revenue for the commonwealth. Their proposal includes a 25-cent increase in the cigarette tax. But Governor Beshear revealed his own plan, which includes a 70-cent cigarette tax hike.

“There will be those who will criticize me for changing my mind about supporting an increase in the cigarette tax and I willingly accept that criticism,” said Beshear.

Beshear wants to use half of the cigarette tax increase to leverage 600-million dollars in bonds. The other half would bring in about 200-million in new revenue. He proposes using that 800-million dollars to restore cuts in education, health and family services and other state programs. Beshear will discuss his plan with the House Democratic caucus this morning.