Kansas legislators have approved increases in sales and cigarette taxes to erase a budget deficit and avert deep spending cuts.
The Senate voted 21-19 Friday to approve a bill raising the sales tax to 6.5 percent from 6.15 percent. The House passed it 63-45 early Friday morning, and it goes next to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.
The GOP-dominated Legislature also is sending Brownback a companion bill to increase the cigarette tax by 50 cents a pack to $1.29. The House passed it 63-44 early Friday, after the Senate’s approval Sunday.
The two bills together raise $384 million during the fiscal year that begins July 1 to balance the budget.
The state’s budget problems arose after lawmakers slashed income taxes in 2012 and 2013 at Brownback’s urging to stimulate the economy.
Republican leaders in the GOP-dominated chamber didn’t know going into Friday’s debate whether they had the 21 votes in the 40-member chamber to pass it.
The bill would increase the sales tax to 6.5 percent from 6.15 percent. It and a companion measure already approved by the Senate together would raise $384 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
Lawmakers have approved a budget for the next fiscal year, but it doesn’t balance without the tax increases. The state’s budget problems arose after lawmakers slashed income taxes in 2012 and 2013 at Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s urging to help stimulate the economy.
The other bill would increase the state’s cigarette tax by 50 cents a pack to $1.29. Both chambers have approved it, but the House was using a procedural move to keep it from going to Brownback until it saw what the Senate did with the first measure.