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AFP-Kansas launches website about tobacco taxes

Following is a press release from Americans for Prosperity, Kansas chapter.

TOPEKA, KAN. – The Kansas chapter of the grassroots group Americans for Prosperity is working to educate Kansans on the effects of tobacco tax increases on Kansas businesses by creating a new Web site, StopTheWarOnSmokers.Com.

Gov. Mark Parkinson last month proposed a cigarette tax increase of 55 cents per pack, raising the rate from its current 79 cents per pack to $1.34 per pack.

“History has shown us that raising the cigarette tax has not increased the revenues coming into the state over the long run,” said AFP-Kansas state director Derrick Sontag. “There may be an initial boost, but with nearby states like Missouri only adding a 17-cent tax per pack, more Kansas smokers are likely to cross the state line to purchase cigarettes.

“This means Kansas retailers are losing out on those sales, as well as the sales of other items smokers may purchase when buying tobacco products.”

Economist Patrick Fleenor of Fiscal Economics has prepared a study, “Masters of Tax Avoidance: Kansans and the Cigarette Excise, 1927-2009,” which outlines the state’s history of taxes on tobacco. It illustrates the problems the state runs into when taxes are raised too high on items such as cigarettes, and the lengths to which citizens will go to avoid paying that additional tax.

“In looking at our state’s history with cigarette taxes, it is apparent raising these taxes does not serve as a deterrent from smoking,” Sontag said. “It also makes little sense to try to raise revenues from cigarettes when just yesterday the Kansas Legislature approved a ban on smoking in public places.

“Additionally, we know the revenues have dwindled not long after the cigarette taxes increased in the past, so it’s simply unwise for our state government to depend on such an unreliable revenue stream.”

For more information on Kansas cigarette/tobacco taxes, or to read Fleenor’s study, visit www.stopthewaronsmokers.com.

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