By Bill Raack, KWMU
St. Louis, MO – Governor Bob Holden today/ proposed higher taxes on tobacco users, gamblers and wealthy Missourians. In his annual State of the State address to Missouri lawmakers he announced more government cuts and layoffs aiming at closing a projected one billion-dollar shortfall in the coming state budget. He surprised some legislators by calling for a 55-cent-a-pack increase on cigarettes and gaming fee hikes.
"These two revenue increases, gaming fees and cigarette taxes, are an alternative to a general tax. These are optional taxes that most citizens won't have to pay. You don't have to gamble and you don't have to smoke."
Holden's plan would produce about 730 million dollars in new revenues mainly through higher taxes. And it would gain another 280 million through cuts and savings for the fiscal year beginning July first.
Republican leaders say they will not consider raising taxes this year.