Last week, Kentucky thanked the bourdon industry for putting the Bluegrass State on the map by giving them the highest distilled spirits tax in the country.  And why not double the cigarette tax while you’re at it?

That’s right.  Last week the House and Senate passed House Bill 144 to apply the state’s 6% sales tax to beer, liquor and wine sales (in addition to the current 11% gross receipts tax) and to raise the cigarette tax by another 30-cents per pack.  Governor Steve Beshear (D) quickly and cheerfully signed the bill, even though he was seeking a much higher 70-cent per pack cigarette tax hike.  The measure was part of a plan to eliminate the state’s $459 million overspending problem.

As two-dozen alcohol beverage delivery trucks circled the Capital and hundreds gathered on the Capital steps to pour out liquor in a Whiskey Rebellion protest, lawmakers in each chamber called the tax hike a measure of last resort – then narrowly passed it.  They apparently neglected to account for the fact that the state’s budget has ballooned by 21% since 2006 alone.  The other option was simple: trim excessive spending.

Consumers across the country already spend 79.6% of the cost of distilled spirits and 56.2% of the cost of beer paying for government taxes and fees. Even worse, 81.3% of the price of cigarettes goes toward state and federal taxes.

Click the following links for PDF letters submitted to legislators throughout the week:

ATR Letter to House and Senate Opposing Alcohol and Cigarette Tax Hike

ATR Letter to Legislators Highlighting Kentucky’s Overspending Problem

ATR Letter to Senate Pledge Signers Opposing House Bill 144