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.