Tobacco Tax Increase – Decision by Voters in November

By Ecigarettereviewed Posted October 14, 2012

Tobacco Taxes IncreaseCurrently, Missouri has the lowest tax on a pack of cigarettes in the entire nation which is likely to change in November if a ballot initiative gets approved by the voters.

 

According to this initiative which is titled, Proposition B, a tax raise is sought on cigarettes sold in the state of Missouri from 17 cents per pack to 90 cents. Another new tax is also sought for roll-your-own tobacco which is to be set at 25% of the invoice price set by the manufacturer and 15% for all kinds of tobacco products including cigars.

 

Supporters of this proposition claim that Missouri has the 11th highest smoking rate in the nation and the lowest tax rate on cigarettes. Misty Snodgrass, who is the spokeswoman for the Jefferson City-based Show-me a Brighter Future Campaign and also a Director at the American Cancer Society Action Network state that nearly $2.3 billion are spent every year to cover health care costs related to smoking in Missouri. The annual Medicaid costs stand at $532 million so its time some of this revenue is recovered.

 

Snodgrass firmly believes that this time the tax rates will definitely be increased by voters though similar propositions have been turned down twice in the past, once in 2002 and once in 2006. She believes that this proposition will strike a chord with the voters as the extra revenue is being planned to be channeled into education.

 

At 90 cents per packet, the new tax revenue will be between $280 million to $435 million against the $92 million collected all these years. 50% of the revenue will go to public schools, 30% for higher education and 20% will be directed towards programs for smoking cessation. Kathy Swan who is a Republican and also a member of the Missouri’s Coordinating Board for Higher Education totally agrees with Snodgrass in that it is high time that smokers should be encouraged to quit.

 

This increase in funding is really welcome in these economically challenging times. But there are many diplomats who are opposed to this tax raise like Democrat Jay Nixon and his opponent Republican David Spence, both candidates for governor. Another diplomat opposing this proposition is Wayne Wallingford who is the local legislator who believes that this is a double-edged sword.

 

A ‘wait-and-watch’ attitude is what is needed, according to Dr. Mike Cowan who is the Principal of Cape Girardeau Central High School. He believes that tobacco is a real and serious issue especially among youngsters but is uncertain about the outcome of the proposition.

 

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