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Pittsburg Residents Weigh in On Proposed State Sales Tax Hike - KOAM TV 7

Pittsburg Residents Weigh in On Proposed State Sales Tax Hike

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PITTSBURG, KANSAS - Kansas legislators continue to iron out a budget deal. In an effort to balance it the House is working on a sales tax bundle that would raise the state sales tax from 6.15% to 6.55%. It'd also impose a 50-cent per pack tax increase on cigarettes.

Under the plan you would pay more at the store.

Supporters of the tax bill say that it would generate $423 million the next fiscal year, more than enough to balance the budget.

But Pitt State's Business School's Associate Dean, Dean Cortes, argues it would shift a greater burden to low-income families.

“If I'm a poor family and my income is just enough to pay for groceries, therefore I'll be affected more by sales taxes. If I'm a wealthy individual than the proportion of my household budget is a small percentage of that is spent on food than the sales tax really doesn't affect me as much."

I went to Meadowbrook Mall to see what Pittsburg residents think of the plan.

"I don't think that it's a good move. I think that we should keep it the same if anything lower it maybe. just because the other states they don't have as high,” says Pittsburg resident Casey Buckner.

Compared to Kansas's proposed sales tax rate of 6.55 percent, Oklahoma's now sits at 4.5 percent, and Missouri's at 4.2. Some business owners are worried it'll drive more customers out of town.

"You know if it's driving people to other states to spend their money, we're losing as a state, and we're gonna lose,” says Jennifer Hudson, owner of The Twisted Pretzel Factory.

But others see value in a tax hike.

“I think that increasing the sales tax is a good idea because it will actually help the budget for Kansas and help us have a little bit extra money,” says Pittsburg resident Melissa Churning.

And Cortes concedes lawmakers don't always have an easy solution.

“Sales taxes are good sources of raising government revenue but I would think that other taxes like personal income tax, corporate tax, even property taxes are just as good sources of revenue because they're more progressive."

Governor Brownback said, today, he'd sign the bill into law if it passes the house.

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