Missouri to introduce 429 percent increase on cigarette taxes

Cigarette Smoking

A lot of school districts in Missouri are calling for more taxes.

Nixa School District Superintendent Stephen Kleinsmith said that it will be good for children’s health.

The question is about Proposition B – the Missouri ballot initiative. If it is accepted, it would increase the cigarette tax from 17 cents per pack to 90 cents.

The state auditor’s office considers that income gathered from Prop B could make up $420 -million a year. 80% would be directed for public schools, universities and colleges.  20% would help fund programs on quitting smoking.

Nixa says that it could get a $1.3 million share in the first year.  The money would be used to pay for things like additional teachers, salary increases, and new textbooks.

While Prop B may benefit schools, it would be a profit for smokers.

The proposal defines a 429-percent raise on all cigarette brands.  But, general brands would experience a 760-percent raise.  Roll-your-own tobacco products would see a 250-percent tax increase, while a 150-percent hike would be added to other products such as cigars and smokeless tobacco.

Cigarette stores and gas stations are raising their fight against the proposed tax boost. The Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association is bankrolling the plan against Prop B.  Its bright orange signs and billboards can be viewed before many gas stations and tobacco retailers.

“We will have at least a 50-percent decrease in cigarette sales,” Livingston said.

While the predicted revenue from Prop B would be near to $420 million primarily, the amount may not last long.  That’s because the measure seeks to obtain earnings while reducing the income source.

In accordance with the ballot language, 20% of the income gained would be used for programs on quitting smoking.

Between that, and the price rise, supporters expect to discourage 73,000 Missourians from taking up smoking.  Fewer packs bought would mean fewer taxes coming in.

The $420 million could be reduced to $283 million a year, with the amount falling as more people quit smoking.

Kleinsmith realizes that, even if Proposition B approved, his district may not be able to count on the earnings forever.

Julie Sally, a spokeswoman for Show Me a Brighter Future, said that the $283 million is estimated to be the amount that can be counted on after the number of smoking poeple decline to meet the goal set.

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