Missouri has the lowest state tobacco tax in the United States: $0.17 per pack of cigarettes. The average state tobacco tax is $1.65.
Before us Tuesday in Missouri are two competing tobacco tax increase proposals. Constitutional Amendment 3 is sponsored by Big Tobacco and Proposition A is sponsored by Little Tobacco and the Missouri Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Stores.
“Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
- increase taxes on cigarettes each year through 2020, at which point this additional tax will total 60 cents per pack of 20;
- create a fee paid by cigarette wholesalers of 67 cents per pack of 20 on certain cigarettes, which fee shall increase annually; and
- deposit funds generated by these taxes and fees into a newly established Early Childhood Health and Education Trust Fund?”
St. Louis Public Radio story on Amendment 3
Amendment 3 is deceptive, using children to write into the Missouri Constitution protections for Big Tobacco and more:
- Public health agencies that receive money from the tax would be prohibited from advocating for tougher laws against tobacco.
- Big Tobacco gets $9 Million a year for collecting the tax.
- The funds would be spent by an unelected board.
- The funds could be spent on private schools.
- And there is some way off topic language relating to stem cell research and abortion.
“Shall Missouri law be amended to:
- increase taxes on cigarettes in 2017, 2019, and 2021, at which point this additional tax will total 23 cents per pack of 20;
- increase the tax paid by sellers on other tobacco products by 5 percent of manufacturer’s invoice price;
- use funds generated by these taxes exclusively to fund transportation infrastructure projects; and
- repeal these taxes if a measure to increase any tax or fee on cigarettes or other tobacco products is certified to appear on any local or statewide ballot?”
Proposition A is nearly as bad as Amendment 3.
- Proposition A would fund transportation projects because proponents- convenience stores and gas stations- make big money selling gasoline and don’t want higher gas taxes.
- Proposition A, if passed, and another tobacco tax increase is certified for a ballot later on, statewide or local, the increase from Proposition A is repealed. That’s right. Not if another tax increase passes, but if merely approved for a ballot.
Personally, it seems to me that if we are going to raise tobacco taxes, the money should go to county and city health departments and fire departments/districts across the state. It should not go to state at all. It should stay local.
Vote No on both Pro-Tobacco Industry Cigarette Taxes.
— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman