Beshear, Democrats Meet Over Cigarette Tax Proposal

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - House Democrats have met in private with
Gov. Steve Beshear about his plan to increase state revenue by
boosting the state's cigarette tax to a dollar a pack.

Beshear announced his plan to raise the cigarette tax following
a meeting with Democrats on Thursday night. The two sides have
different ideas on how to close an estimated $900 million state
revenue shortfall.

Beshear left the meeting Friday morning as Democrats continued
to meet. As he left the meeting, Beshear said Democrats need to
work together and not stay at odds over the state's fiscal crisis.

Beshear has previously opposed raising taxes and has pushed for
state lawmakers to advance a proposal that would legalize casino

Now, Beshear says the fate of his gambling proposal is uncertain
this session. Instead, he wants to use money from the cigarette tax
increase to finance bonds and bring in $800 million for the state
to use over the next two years.

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