Republican Kansas lawmakers are still reacting to the tax increases they passed late last week. They say it was the only way to pass a balanced budget and end the 113 day legislative session. Lawmakers chose to fill the projected $400 million dollar budget gap by raising sales and cigarette taxes rather than asking businesses to pay more income taxes. House Republican Kasha Kelly’s among a number of conservatives who reluctantly accept the move.
The state sales tax will increase to 6.5 percent from 6.15 percent and the cost for a pack of cigarettes will increase by 50 cents. Approval of the increases came only after top aides to Governor Sam Brownback warned of across-the-board spending cuts. Republican John Rubin is among the House conservatives who say spending cuts would have been a better alternative. Rubin pushed throughout the negotiations to reduce spending, specifically for education.
The final bill includes the largest tax increase in state history and Kansas now has one of the highest sales tax rates in the nation.