Controversy surrounds tobacco tax

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JEFFERSON CITY - Amendment 3 and Proposition A are both on Tuesday's ballot. Different cigarette companies have funded the two campaigns, but no one seems to be quite sure what will happen if both pass. 

“Well nobody really knows what happens if proposition A and amendment 3 pass. What we believe will happen is somebody will sue somebody, and the courts will be involved," said Ronald Leone, Executive Director at Missouri Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association. 

In fact, the two propositions could be in conflict with each other. 

"Whether the two tobacco tax propositions are actually in conflict, however, is a question that would likely be addressed by the courts after the election, if both measures pass," said Nancy Gonder, the press secretary for the Missouri Attorney General's office. 

Article III, Section 51 of the Missouri Constitution provides that “When conflicting measures are approved at the same election the one receiving the largest affirmative vote shall prevail.”

Still, it has yet to be determined whether the two initiatives would be in conflict with each other. Kenny Blanford, a cigarette smoker who lives in Columbia, said he'd likely quit smoking cigarettes if either of the tax increases are implemented. 

“I’m not too concerned about the tax increase on cigarettes, I’ll just stop smoking," Blanford said.

Blanford said he'd rather the prices stay the same, but, since he only considers himself a moderate smoker, any increase would be too much. Currently, Missouri has the lowest tobacco tax in the nation. 

"I would rather they stay low, of course," he said. 

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