Local News

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh 

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is refusing to back down on his call for a 70-cent increase in the state’s cigarette tax.

After meeting with the governor Friday, House Democrats announced they were sticking with their plan for a 25-cent increase in the state cigarette tax.

But Governor Beshear, who wants a 70-cent increase, isn’t giving up.  He says there are two good reasons why his proposal is better. 

“Number one, it raises a lot of revenue. Number two, every study indicates it will significantly reduce not only teen smoking, but smoking in general,” Beshear said.

A cigarette tax hike is under consideration because the state is facing huge revenue shortfalls in the next two-year budget cycle. House leaders want to get the $18 billion dollar budget out of committee Tuesday, so it can receive a floor vote on Wednesday.   It would then move to the Senate.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation."