Retailers, consumers not thrilled about proposed sin tax increases

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is proposing to boost state liquor and cigarette taxes to address the state’s budget problems.

He wants to boost the tax on cigarettes by a dollar a pack and double the liquor tax.

Greg Phillips lived in Colorado for 16-years before he moved to Kansas just over a year ago.

He says since living in Kansas, he’s noticed he’s having to pay more when heads to the liquor store.

“Buying things like wine, which is mainly what I buy, it’s probably 25 percent higher buying a bottle of wine than it was in Colorado,” said Phillips.

So Phillips wasn’t happy to hear that Governor Brownback is looking to bump up the tax on liquor.

“There’s got to be other ways than bumping up a tax on liquor and things like that, especially doubling it,” said Phillips.

In order to make up a billion dollar deficit over the next year and half, Governor Brownback is proposing increasing the tax on liquor from eight to 16 percent.

Tom Jacob, the owner of Jacob’s Liquor Exchange, says the current enforcement tax has been in place for 30 years.

Jacob says he is concerned by this proposal and what it could mean for his business and others.

“When you increase a tax you have a decrease in sales and you never really get to the number that you think you are going to have from the increase of taxes, it’s never there,” said Jacob.

Jacob is also the owner of the Cigar Chateau just next door.

The governor is also proposing doubling the tax on tobacco products, like cigars, from 10 to 20 percent.

“The doubling of the state tobacco tax, what they call the other tobacco products will just drive more people to the internet,” said Jacob.

Jacob says internet sales have no sales tax or tobacco tax on its products.

For consumers, like Phillips, he says the governor’s proposals aren’t a permanent fix to that state’s problems.

“It’s a band-aid, it’s a band-aid for the problem,” said Phillips.

Another sin-tax Governor Brownback has his sights set on is the tax on cigarettes.

He has proposed boosting the cigarette tax one dollar, from $1.29 up to $2.29.

That would be much higher than the states that border Kansas.

Nebraska currently only adds on 64 cents per pack.

To the south, Oklahoma taxes cigarettes at $1.03 a pack.

Missouri has the lowest tax on cigarettes in the nation, at only 17 cents.