Though stopping short of fully admitting his tax-cut plan is failing Kansas, Brownback is attempting to patch our budget problems by raising taxes on alcohol and tobacco. But, this is again an example of ego getting in the way of making good policy, since sin taxes are inherently regressive in nature. As a result, if this passes, those already struggling in Kansas will suffer the worst, while the well-off will continue to be well-off. Plus, sin taxes are designed to try and discourage the sin. There are people that will quit smoking and decrease drinking, thereby negating gains. Not to mention that many populated areas like KC, Ft. Scott, and Pittsburg can easily border-hop to Missouri. Bottom line, we’re letting bad decisions lead to worse decisions.
Brownback wants to raise tobacco and alcohol taxes to help eliminate a projected shortfall of nearly $600 million in the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The state’s budget problems arose after lawmakers aggressively cut income taxes at Brownback’s urging in 2012 and 2013 to stimulate the economy. Kansas committee review bill to boost taxes, Topeka Capitol-Journal