Dozens Rally For 70 Cent Cigarette Tax

The argument is to make smoking more expensive so kids won't start, adults will quit, and those that go ahead and shell out more will help the state.

"Every year we delay, thousands more Kentuckians die, thousands more kids will get addicted," says Dr. Barbara Phillips who spoke at Wednesday's rally at the capital rotunda.

Some lawmakers passed a 25 cent hike in the state House. But others say that's not enough.

"We know changing it a little bit produces this much, why not go further and get as many to quit as possible, and others to never choose, to get the most dramatic results, said Courtney Otto, whose mother died of lung cancer, although she never smoked. Otto says doctors attributed her mother's death to second hand smoke.

Kentucky is facing a revenue shortfall. A higher tax is seen as a win-win. People kick the habit and the state rakes in millions.

"A 70 cent tax will generate $200 million the first year, and $170 million the second year of the biennium," said Gov. Steve Beshear, D-Kentucky.

The governor's initial solution to revenue problems was casino gambling. But while he won't declare that dead, it still lacks enough votes in the house. The Governor was against more taxes...but has since had a change of heart.

"I changed my mind," said the Governor, to a rousing round of applause.

Governor Beshear says he sees the tax as a solution to a $600 million dollar shortfall.

"That money will restore the reduction in K through 12 (education funding), and be able to raise teacher salaries."


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Bart Location: Harrodsburg on Mar 23, 2008 at 05:03 AM
    I say put a $2 a pack tax on those filthy things! Every time you turn around you run into some disabled person dragging a tank behind them with a cigarette in their hand. Smokers are a drain on the system and the habit kills more people that liquor. You just see the immediate effects of DUI but ignore the heart disease and cancer caused by cigarettes. If they have money to burn, then they shouldn't mind putting up a little bit more. Besides, Kentucky is way behind the rest of the nation in tobacco tax anyway. Time we catch up!
  • by Andy on Mar 23, 2008 at 04:37 AM
    Yea raise taxes,on them,but not us.What a bunch of crap??Do it to them, the battle cry of the self centered democrat.
  • by Sean Location: Cincinnati on Mar 22, 2008 at 03:51 PM
    "Who in their right mind would want to raise taxes on tobacco and not alcohol which is killing thousands and thousands on our highway everyday?" - Fed up in KY So.....how many thousands of people died on KY highways at the hands of drunk drivers today, Fed up?
  • by To Amazed Location: Where on Mar 22, 2008 at 06:19 AM
    Where are you getting second hand smoke? Most places are non smoking facilities.Even when you go outside, the smokers are off in a corner somewhere.I would much rather see a person smoke as someone who continually overeats! Neither is "good" for you, but we have both problems. I agree with taxing toilet paper. Best idea I have heard yet.Teachers are underpaid in my opinion.I have the utmost respect for them. There is no way I could do your jobs. Too many brats for me to deal with daily.Hats off to all of you.But I do however feel that there are monies wasted in the education dept. in certain areas.Not on teacher's salaries but in unproductive areas.
  • by smokey Location: ky on Mar 22, 2008 at 05:05 AM
    i am a smoker bought my first carton today in va.and is what i will do.i am fed up with this myself.i will ouit when i want to not by anyone forcing me to.i agree its time for people to stand up for their rights.and start looking into these peoples habits and let them quit theirs as they want us smokers to ours.dont people know we all are put here to die?you cant even smoke around the hospital or courthouse in pike county.at one time they had places for smokers to be out away from everyone.not any more.and the other day stopped at a dairy bar that you had to go to the window to order your fattin food and and sign posted no smoking city ordinance.lol.cant even smoke in the air.they put cig patch on you if you are a smoker.i trust my smoke more than what they put in the patches.i have kids 20s and 30s they have never got one of mine and it right there for them to see.kids wants pills not a smoke go to drs office see your self.also to the comments i am a proud dumbocrat.
  • by barbara Location: fedscreek ky on Mar 21, 2008 at 07:04 PM
    i dont think it fair to make people who smoke pay more taxes to raise teacher saliers when they get payed way to much now for the job they do which is nothing when i went to school things were different we had good teachers . why should we be responseable for ky short fall we sure cant get any help when we need it.if the people spent the money right they would not have a shortfall if they didnt spend it on unnessary thing the state could do without.like all the taskforces on drugs there are plenty of laws for that job like putting people in prison for having drugs on them for the state to pay for like moving the mountains to put big highway throught if god had wanted that way he would made it that way there lots of wrong the state does and the people voted in to offices they sit behind desk and push a pencil and retire wit the big bucks the poor people pay the price and get nothing after they worked all ther life .expecitaly a coal miner there should be some laws for these people.
  • by Fred Location: Lexington on Mar 21, 2008 at 03:55 PM
    Amazed - No I do not get second hand carbs, but my taxes get to pay for overweight slobs to get quadruple bypasses. To AC - a significant portion of your taxes and health insurance premiums also go toward subsidizing healthcare for indigents, illegal immigrants, elderly, the poor, etc. Should we strive to increase taxes on these groups or deny them coverage also? If not, can we at least whine about it some more?
  • by Anonymous on Mar 21, 2008 at 02:11 PM
    i dont think we need taxes on cigs. and i love my cigs and my cigs loves me to. so lay off the taxes.tax the dumb druggies.they the ones needs tax.
  • by Amazed Location: Right here in KY on Mar 21, 2008 at 12:03 PM
    Gary, as a teacher, I can assure you that teachers do not get raises every year or two!!! The state gave the teachers a raise last year but DID NOT provide additional funds which caused MANY teachers to be laid off. The cut in teachers caused classrooms to be over crowded. And Bill, if you don't like Ky then HIT THE ROAD! Quit complaining and move because with your attitude you won't be missed. It does not matter what the government taxes because there will always be people complaining about it because they feel they are being "discriminated" against. My solution? Tax toilet paper...everyone uses it...at least I hope they do.... so nobody can say they are being discriminated against. Yep, obesity is a problem in this country but me eating a cheeseburger doesn't cause second hand carbs and cholesterol to damage anyone else like second hand smoke does! I'm truly amazed at some of the responses on here.
  • by rob Location: winchester on Mar 21, 2008 at 11:46 AM
    if no one has noticed our new (edited).it is a sad day in ky when you cant even smoke a cig in your own home or car without looking over your shoulder like you stole something.ill smoke and dip until i die and with kids mine hate smoke so i dont do it around them.people dont think kids can get more money for tobacco they get money to buy oxycontin im sure that 70 more cents on a pack of smokes isnt gonna deferr them very much

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