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Tax Hikes On Cigarettes, Alcohol Win Final Approval

From Kentucky Public Radio's Tony McVeighThe 2009 Kentucky General Assembly is increasing taxes on alcohol and cigarettes to address an almost haf-billion dollar shortfall in the state budget.After passing the House 66-34 earlier this week, the tax bill moved to the Senate, where 23 votes were needed for passage.It got 24, including 11 Republicans.Twelve senators opposed the bill, including two Democrats. One was Lexington Senator Kathy Stein. The other was former Governor Julian Carroll of Frankfort. Carroll says taxing alcohol six-percent at the retail level is unfair to the industry. “We increased the excise tax in ’82 from three cents to nine cents, moving the sales tax to an excise tax,” Carroll said.The revenue bill now goes to Governor Beshear, who is expected to quickly sign it into law. All of the tax increases in the bill take effect April 1st.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.