(Alexandria, VA) – As Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson finished his State of the State Address this evening, the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) urged the Governor to refrain from raising sales and cigarette taxes as a means to fix the state’s fiscal crisis. NTU has 4,500 members in the state of Kansas.
NTU State Policy Analyst Kristine Tuinstra remarked: “It is important for Governor Parkinson to provide a reasonable plan for balancing the State’s budget. However, raising taxes on cigarettes will not contribute to sound budgetary policy. If you look to other states that have enacted cigarette taxes, they never end up raising the expected revenue. Instead, cigarette tax revenue tends to decline as people travel across state lines to purchase cigarettes. Nor will sales tax hikes help Kansas’ moribund retail sector.”
Although policymakers are often tempted to raise taxes when addressing budget shortfalls, in coming weeks NTU and its members will in one voice strongly caution Governor Parkinson and the Kansas State Legislature against going forward with discussion of tax increases, especially a regressive one such as the cigarette tax or the sales tax.
“This is what happens when lawmakers continue to overspend,” Tuinstra continued. “Governor Parkinson must recognize that raising taxes is not the answer – making spending cuts is. Elected officials in Kansas and across the nation need to shift their attention away from taxpayers’ wallets and toward bloated spending programs.”
Kansas’ deficit for the current fiscal year is expected to balloon to $958 million. Yet just two years ago, the Kansas Legislature had more than $900 million in unspent funds and this year it is expected that it will overspend by nearly $1 billion.
“Every Kansan needs to live within a budget, and so should the Legislature,” Tuinstra concluded. “Unfairly raising taxes on cigarettes will only create perverse results and will ultimately never raise sufficient revenue to make up for rampant overspending.”
NTU is a nonpartisan, nonprofit citizen organization founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels. Note: For more information about state budgets visit www.ntu.org.