Tobacco Tax Plan

1 decade 3 years 9 months ago Wednesday, December 28 2005 Dec 28, 2005 Wednesday, December 28, 2005 6:08:34 PM CST December 28, 2005 in News
Two groups are proposing the same 80-cent tax hike on cigarettes. But, both proposals could end up on next year's ballot because they disagree how the state should spend the additional money. The Missouri Alliance for Health and Justice wants the tax hike to help pay for Medicaid benefits the state cut last summer. The Committee for a Healthy Future wants the tax hike to help pay for smoking prevention programs and healthcare for patients with chronic smoking illnesses. "By raising the excise tax, what we're hoping to do is create a possibility of reducing tobacco use in the state of Missouri," said the committee's Ed Johnson "while being able to help provide support and financial assistance to those people who have suffered from or will suffer from tobacco-related illnesses." Missouri has a 17-cent sales tax on cigarettes, the second lowest of any state. Rhode Island's cigarette tax is the highest, at almost $2.50 per pack. If either proposal passes, Missouri's cigarette tax will be right around the national average. The tax increase would generate about $350 million for the state. But, some smokers think it's unfair for them to bear the burden of higher taxes. "Well, if it needs to be taken out of that, then yeah," said smoker Shawn Wilcox. "But, I don't really see why you got to take it out of tobacco, a tobacco tax as opposed to anything else." Both groups are proceeding with their versions of the tax proposal for next November's ballot.

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