Vote ‘No’ on both Missouri cigarette tax increases

Many Missourians  want to vote for one or both of the cigarette  taxes on Nov. 8. Amendment 3 and Proposition A both sound good at first blush.

However, both are fatally flawed. Show-Me State voters should reject them.

People who don’t smoke often favor cigarette tax hikes, for good reasons. They want to get others to stop puffing away and creating health-care problems that the public often has to pay for. Higher taxes can stop young people from taking up the habit.

Also, people often back these taxes to raise revenue for worthwhile projects. Amendment 3 would create an Early Childhood Health and Education Trust Fund. Proposition A would help finance better transportation infrastructure in the state.

However, neither tax increase is remotely close to being high enough to force people to slow down or stop their smoking habit.

Amendment 3 would boost the  nation’s lowest cigarette tax of 17 cents a pack to 77 cents a pack by 2020. Proposition A would add a puny 23 cents a pack by 2021. (Read the full ballot language of each ballot item here.)

By comparison, the national average is $1.65 a pack. Nearby, Kansas’ tax is $1.29 a pack.

Each issue also has questionable proponents.

Big Tobacco has spent millions helping Amendment 3 get to the ballot. The item contains some poison pills that could prevent research on tobacco issues, bring up questionable restrictions on stem-cell research and throw the whole thing into court over its abortion-related language.

As for the promise of helping fund early childhood programs, how all that would actually work across the Show-Me State  has been lost in  the smoke of the back and forth about the confusing cigarette taxes.

Meanwhile, the Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association favors Proposition A. Executive Director Ronald Leone said his group was “sick and tired of fighting outrageous and unfair tobacco tax increases every few years.” That’s a horrible reason for any voter to support this minuscule tax.

Finally, look at the opponents, a Who’s Who of the anti-tobacco industry: the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association and others groups.

Their joint statement: “Voters should be alarmed that those who profit from keeping smokers addicted have hijacked worthwhile causes by forcing Missourians to settle for a paltry increase in the tobacco tax that will not deter smoking.”

Both Amendment 3 and Proposition A have created confusion among voters. That should be a red light for voters.

Don’t allow Amendment 3 to become a $300-million-a-year burden on taxpayers, or Proposition A a $100-million-year burden on them, either.

Vote “no” on both.

14 Thoughts.

  1. Thanks for the info. Had heard and read that advise from others, but it takes on the surety of a trusty pair of hiking shoes to walk me into the voting booth. Yours are a fit! Sue

  2. “Vote ‘No’ on both Missouri cigarette tax increases” You got that right!

    Ah! Finally…finally, Yael and I can find agreement on a political issue. Though our reasoning to reach this consensus is different, I’ll take it.

    Yael states —- “However, neither tax increase is remotely close to being high enough to force people to slow down or stop their smoking habit.” —- implying that he would support the measures if they called for even higher tax hikes on cigarettes.

    But of course, the real reason to oppose these misguided measures is because they are illogical.

    One wants to raise the cigarette tax to fund a new bureaucracy affectionately named the “Early Childhood Health and Education Trust Fund.” Newsflash!! There is zero correlation between tobacco use and early childhood education, as most citizens understand it. Is this trust fund referring to programs like pre-K, or are they seeking to spend all the tax money toward anti-tobacco health education programs and advertising?
    The other tax measure would finance transportation infrastructure for Missouri. Again, there is zero correlation between tobacco use and the state of our transportation infrastructure.
    How about the state of Missouri continue to allow their Education, Health, and Transportation departments to oversee those functions for citizens? If more money is needed, then those who use the services should be the ones who pay for the improvements. What a novel idea!

    The ONLY reason these proposals, and similar ones, decide to target tobacco users is because it’s now socially acceptable to demonize smokers. And given the fact that only some 21 percent of adult Missouri residents smoke, proponents know they can score a win much easier by discriminating against a minority group.

    (Disclosure: I’ve never smoked, don’t like being around tobacco smoke, but it’s a legal product for adults. Others may not like my coffee or cheeseburgers.)

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    • Thank you very much Patricia. At least two more weeks of hectic activity here on, though.

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