Topeka By wide margins, Kansans support increases in tobacco and alcohol taxes and oppose cuts in education, social services and highways, according to a poll released Tuesday.
The survey should help legislators in supporting tax increases to fill a nearly $500 million budget hole, said representatives of anti-smoking and health groups that commissioned the poll.
An increase of $1 per pack in the cigarette tax would generate $74.7 million and reduce the number of young people smoking, said Mary Jayne Hellebust, of the Tobacco Free Kansas Coalition.
“It’s a win-win,” she said.
The statewide survey of 500 likely Kansas voters found that 71 percent supported an increase in the state tobacco tax and 70 percent supported an increase in the state alcohol tax. Republican and Democratic support was nearly identical.
Support for a $1-per-pack increase was 69 percent overall, according to the poll. The current state tax on cigarettes is 79 cents per pack. Gov. Mark Parkinson has proposed an increase of 55 cents per pack.
No other proposed tax increase or proposed cuts gained the support of a majority of Kansans, according to the poll. The survey was taken last week and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.38 percentage points.
The poll found 87 percent opposed cuts to public schools, 85 percent opposed cuts to social services, 81 percent opposed cuts to Medicaid, 76 percent opposed cuts to higher education, and 72 percent opposed cuts to highways.
The poll also showed that an increase in the state sales tax was supported by 43 percent and opposed by 56 percent.
The poll was conducted by the national polling firm Public Opinion Strategies.
Glen Bolger, partner and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies, said raising taxes on cigarettes “is far more attractive” than other tax proposals or proposed budget cuts.