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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Beshear outlines budget cut plans

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear Thursday outlined his plan to help balance the state budget, which currently is facing an estimated $456.1 million shortfall.

Beshear said he hopes to offset some of the state’s declining revenue by increasing the state’s cigarette tax to $1 per pack from the current 30 cents per pack. The state projects that it can raise an additional $81.5 million by raising the cigarette tax.

Under Beshear’s plan, the state would nearly double the tax charged on other tobacco products, to 19 percent of the cost of the product, up from the current 9 percent.

In addition to the tobacco tax hikes, Beshear has instructed leaders of all state agencies to cut at least 2 percent from their budgets. State cabinets and agencies such as Energy and Environment; Tourism Arts & Heritage; and Public Protection, all have been instructed to cut 4 percent of their budgets. read more...

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