Kansas lawmakers consider hiking tobacco taxes in budget fix

Kansas Statehouse (KSN File Photo)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas legislators are considering whether to increase tobacco taxes as part of a broader package for fixing the state budget and raising new dollars for public schools.

The Senate planned to debate a bill Tuesday that contains Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposals to raise taxes on cigarettes, other tobacco products, liquor, wine and beer. The bill also would increase annual filing fees for businesses.

Top Senate Republicans do not believe Brownback’s proposals have much support. But Majority Leader Jim Denning said higher tobacco taxes could be the exception.

Lawmakers so far have been focused on raising income taxes to close projected budget shortfalls totaling more than $1 billion through June 2019.

Also the Kansas Supreme Court ruled last week that the state isn’t spending enough money on its public schools.

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