From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh
The Kentucky House yesterday approved a new state budget, and the revenue package to support it. The revenue plan includes a 25-cent increase in the state’s cigarette tax. Henderson Rep. David Watkins, who’s a physician, preferred a 70-cent increase.
“Right now, tobacco-related illnesses are costing us about ten dollars 50 cents a pack. I think cigarettes are three dollars 50 cents a pack. Somebody else is picking up that other seven dollars. Guess who it is? It’s people like you and me,” said Watkins.
The revenue package, which restores deep cuts in higher education and health and human services, cleared the House on a 50-45 vote. The House voted 84-14 for the budget, and also approved spending plans for the legislative and judicial branches. The measures move to the Senate, with just 15 days remaining in the 2008 session.