#Hashtag: Top three things to know about the new Kansas budget

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After holding the longest legislative session in the state’s history, lawmakers in Topeka finally sent a budget for Gov. Sam Brownback to sign. So what does it mean for Kansas?

1. You’re going to pay more for everything

Whether buying groceries or a tank of gas, you’ll be paying more for them. The budget increased the state sales tax from 6.15 percent to 6.5 percent. When the new budget takes effect, only eight states will have a higher sales tax than Kansas.

2. Smokers will be paying more

Part of the plan includes a cigarette tax increase of 50 cents, to a total of $1.29 a pack. Earlier in the year, Gov. Sam Brownback suggested increasing the price of alcohol and tobacco products to balance the budget. In addition, taxes on e-cigarettes will rise July 2016.

3. The lowest income earners are excluded from state income tax

Almost 400,000 low-income earners will be exempt from the state income tax. Single people who earn less than $5,000 and couples who earn less than $12,500 yearly will qualify. In an interview with KSN, Rep. Carolyn Bridges, D-Wichita, said it won’t actually benefit low-income Kansans.

“If you have a limited income already, you aren’t paying taxes,” Bridges said. “So the Governor is saying these 380,000, he’s ignoring the 330,000 who actually make money from their businesses, who aren’t paying taxes.”

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