(AP) – Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed bills raising sales and cigarette taxes to balance the state’s next budget.
The Republican governor announced the signings Tuesday, only hours after he had a Statehouse news conference to defend the higher taxes.
Brownback said the bills don’t really represent a tax increase because of past income tax cuts he pushed successfully through the GOP-dominated Legislature in 2012 and 2013.
A budget shortfall arose after those income tax cuts, and the two bills passed this year together raise $384 million during the fiscal year beginning July 1 to avert a deficit.
One bill increases the sales tax to 6.5 percent from 6.15 percent. The other increases the cigarette tax by 50 cents a pack to $1.29. Both laws take effect July 1.