Kentucky Budget Plan Clears First Legislative Hurdle

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

A budget-balancing plan that increases taxes on alcohol and cigarettes in Kentucky has cleared the state House Budget Committee.

Former budget chairman Harry Moberly says he understands alcoholic beverage industry concerns, but says the state has little choice.

“People are used to paying six cents for water, for soft drinks, and I would be very surprised if there’s one person who fails to buy a fifth of Maker’s Mark or a six pack of beer because they have to pay sales tax on it,” Moberly said.

The measure now moves to the House floor, where Democratic leaders admit they will need some Republican votes to win passage of the bill.

Lawmakers are taking up the tax plan to try to fill an almost half-billion dollar hole in the state budget this fiscal year.