Missouri voters to decide on tobacco tax hike
Published: Nov. 5, 2012 at 11:29 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 6, 2012 at 3:17 AM CST
Missouri voters will be asked to raise the state's tobacco tax by passing Proposition B when they head to the polls Tuesday.
Currently, Missouri has the lowest cigarette tax in the nation, along with the 11th highest smoking rate.
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Supporters of Prop B say the tax would change both of those numbers drastically.
The current tax rate for cigarettes is 17 cents per pack, but if Prop B passes, it would go up to 90 cents per pack.
It would also increase taxes on roll-your-own tobacco and other products.
The fund proceeds, which are estimated between $283-$423 million, would be distributed as follows:
20% for tobacco use prevention and quit assistance
30% for public colleges and universities
50% for public K-12 schools.
Opponents say Missouri would lose business, as four neighboring states, Kansas, Nebraska, Tennessee, and Kentucky, would all have lower tobacco tax rates than Missouri.
There's also no guarantee that the money will be appropriated the same way by future legislatures as it could end up in general revenue.
A 'yes' vote would increase the tax.
A 'no' vote would keep it the same.
It's an issue voters in Missouri are talking about.
"I mean I don't smoke and everything, but I think if they put a tax on it to help kids, I'm all for it, because they definitely need it," said Larry Lacey.
"I'm more leaning towards voting no, actually right now," said Stephanie Kerr. "My grandpa smokes, and I would feel so bad if he, and he's on fixed income, social security, so I wouldn't feel right if he wasn't able to get his cigarettes."
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