Smokers in Kansas who use a pack of cigarettes a day soon may have to pay monthly $70 for their habit, because Gov. Sam Brownback proposed to raise cigarette taxes in the state.
Recently he came with a proposal to increase cigarette tax in the state from 79 cents a pack to $2.29 in order to fill the gap of $422 million in the budget. The Kansas Division of the Budget estimated that higher tax on cigarettes would bring to budget additional $81 million in the next year even in case of 20% drop in sales.
Bill Murphy, owner of the Quick Stop gas station in Athe city of Atchison, considers that higher cigarette tax would not be beneficial to his business and to the state. When he found out about the initiative, he at once called his local legislator and showed his absolute disagreement. He said that the law would put him and other shop owners out of business.
It does not mean he okays smoking habit and defends smokers. He defends business because understands that the change would have a huge impact on him. Also he said that the new tax increase is unfair and would create a divide between the classes. Thus people who smoke cigarettes would be losers and authorities would be winners. Most of all would be affected vulnerable layers of society.
It should be said that state of Missouri has the lowest tobacco tax at 17 cents compared to other American states. Jerry Henry, Kansas Rep. whose district includes Doniphan County and part of Atchison County, told if the cigarette tax increase would be adopted, Kansas will see a great drop off in projected revenue. The governor and the Legislature expect big revenues but in reality would not see it, because people will start buying cigarettes online or in neighboring states.