Beshear's Tax Plan Panned

FRANKFORT - Gov. Steve Beshear may not have to worry about statehouse Republicans killing his plan to raise cigarette taxes by 70 cents a pack, reports, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer on its Website, NKY.Com.

House Democrats appear ready to beat the GOP to it. House Speaker Jody Richards has called Beshear's plan a "shocker."

Rep. Arnold Simpson of Covington said he would have to "hold my nose" to back the governor's plan.

Rep. Dennis Keene of Wilder says the governor's plan will have a difficult, if not impossible, time passing the House, reports the newspaper.

House Budget Committee Chairman Harry Moberly called Beshear's plan "irresponsible."

And those are members of the governor's party.

Just three months into his term, Beshear is faced with the daunting task of trying to plug a nearly $1 billion shortfall with a tax he is only supporting because his signature plan to raise revenue - casino gambling - appears to be dead, reports the Enquirer.

"I have said all along that taxes are my last resort," Beshear said during a hastily called Thursday night news conference. "Well, we have arrived at that stage."

Beshear is not only risking political capital by calling for the tax increase, something he has said he would not do; he is also alienating House Democrats, a constituency that should be his natural ally.

But the Democrats favor their own revenue-generating plan and told the governor as much during a sometimes-contentious closed-door meeting Friday in Frankfort, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Copyright: The Cincinnati Enquirer

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