Kentucky Hikes Tax on Cigarettes, Alcohol

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Kentucky Hikes Tax on Cigarettes, Alcohol

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Kentucky legislators have made law a bill that will increase the taxes on two c-store staples -- malt beverages and tobacco -- to close a $456 million state budget deficit, the Business First of Louisville reported.

The bill doubles the state tax on tobacco products, bringing its cigarette tax to 60 cents per pack from 30 cents, while also doubling current tax rates on chewing tobacco, snuff and other tobacco products, the report stated.

Meanwhile, the state’s 6 percent sales tax will be expanded to all retail purchases of package beer, wine and liquor, which had previously been exempt from sales taxes, the paper reported.

"People on both sides of this issue understand the dire circumstances we’re in," Senate President David Williams said in a statement cited by the paper.

The new rates will take effect April 1, according to the report.

"It will affect us in a couple different ways immediately, but in the long run it probably won't affect it much," Jeff Anderson, owner of Huck's convenience store in Madisonville, told area television station WFIE.

However, other retailers in the state think differently.

"It's killing my job, it's killing this business, it's killing an opportunity for something to grow," Horse Head tobacco manager, Josh Gidcumb, told the station. "Honestly since I found that this was going up we were going to do some major advertisement for the business and now it's like you just want to put your hands down and give up."

Gidcumb's customers have told him they may quit smoking.

"It's less job security for me on one hand but at the same time if they quit smoking there is no business for me and there is no job for me," he told WFIE.