- Associated Press - Monday, January 26, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - National anti-tax activist Grover Norquist is urging Kansas legislators to reject Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposals to increase the state’s tobacco and alcohol taxes to help close state budget shortfalls.

Norquist sent a letter Monday to legislators, saying the proposed tax increases would hurt poor and working-class taxpayers the most.

Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform and previously has praised Brownback for successfully persuading Kansas lawmakers to slash the state’s personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013.

The state is facing budget shortfalls totaling more than $710 million in its current budget and its budget for the fiscal year beginning in July.

The Wichita Eagle reports (https://bit.ly/15EqwWm ) that Brownback shrugged off the criticism, saying in a brief interview Monday that his proposals are a starting point.

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, https://www.kansas.com

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