Missouri's Prop. B Is About Tobacco Taxes, Though You'd Never Know From Billboards

flier prop b.jpg
The words "tobacco" and "smokers" highlighted for emphasis.
The measure would raise the tobacco tax on name-brand cigarettes such as Marlboro and Camel from Missouri's current 17 cents a pack (the cheapest in the nation) to 90 cents a pack. For off-brand smokes (which were spared participation in a settlement Missouri reached with tobacco companies in the 1990s) the tax would increase from 17 cents to $1.47 -- for a 764 percent increase.

Leone tells Daily RFT that he rounded down to 760 percent to make his group's message more digestible. Missouri voters rejected ballot initiatives to raise tobacco taxes in 2002 and 2006. Since then voters in multiple municipalities in Missouri, including St. Louis and St. Louis County, have approved smoking bans in restaurants and other businesses.

"Yes, we're in a different place in 2012 than we were in 2002 and 2006 [in terms of people's attitudes toward smoking], says Leone. "But people are also more sick and tired than ever over the nanny state and government spending beyond its means and broken promises and raising prices when the economy is still struggling."

If approved by Missouri voters on November 6, just 20 percent of the tax money collected would go toward smoking cessation and prevention efforts. All the rest of the money -- estimated at $283 million annually -- would go toward education.

Campaign finance reports indicate that Missourians for Health and Education -- the group that is sponsoring the ballot issue -- is outraising the cigarette companies and convenience stores opposed to Prop. B by a measure of four to one.

"I wish we had the money of the proponents," says Leone, whose group has has spent around $215,000 to date opposing Prop. B. "If we can get the facts in front of the voters, we're confident that they'll reject this incredible tax hike."

Convenience stores generally earn 20 to 25 percent of their profits from the sale of tobacco products, according to Leone.

Update Nov. 5: Below is a radio ad paid for by MPMCSA that clouds the issue even further. Over the course of the 60 second spot, MPMCSA fails to mention the words "tobacco" or "cigarettes" once while going out of its way to link Prop. B to Obamacare -- a claim that the non-partisan Missouri Foundation for Health says is baseless.


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13 comments
waw2012fenow
waw2012fenow

It may be about stopping people from voting for more taxes on tobacco but what we need to do is view the concept of over taxation.  How can we dignify allowing anything to be over taxed knowing that we just gave them the power to then over tax anything.  I mean you can out tax smokers, drivers, eaters, drinkers, fliers, movie goers, gadget users, cloths shoppers, amusement seekers, and on and on and on.............

ZeDingo
ZeDingo

>tax & spend fanatics>GOP majority in state houses

Thank you, convenience stores, for showing the truth! 

tri_x_ter
tri_x_ter

I smoke tobacco and I don't like tobacco. What I like even less is when people want to tax tobacco under the guise of providing education dollars. I feel this will end up like it did with the lotto and this money will not go to schools and your property taxes will get raised again and again to pay for an under preforming school system. 

bishop-78
bishop-78

80 cents per pack is NOT a small increase as proponents claim. not gonna happen

hawkwood58
hawkwood58

The Missouri Constitution clearly states that statutory spending constraints are NOT binding upon the Legislature. This is just a money grab by the State, meant to be borne by the poor.

lawsonjoe2008
lawsonjoe2008

Prop B is anti-income for the state. Missouri has the most states that border it than any other state. Missouri also has the lowest tobacco taxes of any state. The net affect of this is that surrounding states and their smokers come to Missouri to purchase tobacco products, along with gas, and other items while they are here. The amount of tobacco products sold is far greater than the amount of smokers in Missouri. The present low tax rate set on Missouri tabacco products has set up a cash cow for The State of Missouri tax base and thousands of Missouri businesses. The only affect that Prop B would have is to stop the out of state tobacco users from buying their product in Missouri as well as gas and other items, reducing our tax base. In addition, when smoking is finally snuffed out, we will no longer have a tobacco tax base to rely on, which means we will have to increase taxes on something else like property or sales taxes etc. to make up the difference. I'm not a smoker, but I do understand the scam that they are trying to pull over on the tax payers. In addition Prop B doesn't take into account the loss of tobacco purchasers that will no longer purchase in Missouri nor all the other items these out of state buyers add to the economy. To look at it another way. If Missouri Gas was $1.00 cheaper per gallon, all those bordering our state buy gas here, pay the state taxes and buy other stuff while here, make the gas more expensive they stay in their own state and keep the money there. Voting NO on Prop B is the only smart thing to do.

bruno1
bruno1

Ofcourse only 20% is going to smoking cessation,  why would they really want Missourians to quit smoking.  What would they do if no one in Missouri smoked, how would they make up for those millions maybe billions of dollars paid in taxes (at the current rate).  It's a joke to think that the money spent by the government on conditions caused by smoking come close to the amount of money raised on tobacco sales.  The government is regulating sugar, fatty foods why not tobacco.  Because it is directly tied to tax revenue.

rkdolls
rkdolls

I would like to know when they are gonna give equal raise in taxes on alcohol????? Every time they want to raise taxes it is always on tobacco how much more could you raise by putting the tax on alcohol since more and more people have stopped smoking...oh wait the politicians and other tax imposing groups would have to pay that tax...sorry my bad

 

America
America

I understand that smoking is bad, but this tax will do nothing but hurt the economy. It is like climbing a one-legged ladder: you may get higher, but the lack of foundation will inevitably make it fail. They propose no preemptive measures to prevent abuse of the money, just that they might catch them if they do... This law is bad for Missouri, and as Marcus Aurelius once said, "What is not good for the hive is not good for the bee.

bobell
bobell

Pack of smokes? You sure? Maybe try something else instead... like... Chewley's gum?

jealousblues1
jealousblues1 topcommenter

you know they are BS ads just by looking at them.  Just more manipulative bs 

superford61
superford61

Keep in mind America. All those people you screw with your so called sin taxes will eventually come back to bite you. The way religion has gone perverted and corrupt the taxing of religion is not too far down the line. And I for one , along with many others, will vote to tax the HELL out of it. So laugh and shaft me now for my money, I will get you back.

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