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A press release from the Missouri Secretary of State’s office:


Friday, February 10, 2012


Six Initiative Petitions Approved for Circulation for 2012 Ballot

Jefferson City, Missouri – The Missouri Secretary of State’s office today announced that six initiative petitions met state standards for circulation.

The ballot title for all six of the petitions relating to cigarette and other tobacco product taxation reads:

   Shall Missouri law be amended to:

   *    create the Health and Education Trust Fund with proceeds of a tax of $0.0365 per cigarette and 25% of the manufacturer’s invoice price for roll-your-own tobacco and 15% for other tobacco products;

   *    use Fund proceeds to reduce and prevent tobacco use and for elementary, secondary, college, and university public school funding; and

   *    increase the amount that certain tobacco product manufacturers must maintain in their escrow accounts, to pay judgments or settlements, before any funds in escrow can be refunded to the tobacco product manufacturer and create bonding requirements for these manufacturers?

   Estimated additional revenue to state government is $283 million to $423 million annually with limited estimated implementation costs or savings. The revenue will fund only programs and services allowed by the proposal. The fiscal impact to local governmental entities is unknown. Escrow fund changes may result in an unknown increase in future state revenue.

The petitions, which would amend Chapters 149 and 196 of the Missouri Revised Statutes, were submitted by Mr. Robert Hess, Husch Blackwell, LLP, 235 E. High St., PO Box 1251, Jefferson City, MO 65102-1251.

For statutory changes, signatures must be obtained from registered voters equal to five (5) percent of the total votes cast in the 2008 governor’s election from six of the state’s nine congressional districts.

Signatures on behalf of all initiative petitions for the 2012 ballot are due to the Secretary of State’s office by no later than 5 p.m. on May 6, 2012.

Before circulating petitions, state law requires that groups must first have the form of their petition approved by the Secretary of State and Attorney General. The Secretary of State then prepares a summary statement of no more than 100 words and the State Auditor prepares a fiscal impact statement, both of which are subject to the approval of the Attorney General. When both statements are approved, they become the official ballot title.

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Visit http://www.sos.mo.gov to find out more about the Missouri Secretary of State’s office.


[emphasis added]

From the Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids:

….Tobacco tax increases offer a win-win-win solution for states, especially as they face a severe fiscal crisis and work to balance budgets while preserving essential public services.

Health Win: Tobacco tax increases are one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking and other tobacco use, especially among kids. Every 10 percent increase in cigarette prices reduces youth smoking by about seven percent and total cigarette consumption by about four percent.

Budget Win: Every state that has significantly increased its cigarette tax has enjoyed substantial increases in revenue, even while reducing smoking. Higher tobacco taxes also save money by reducing tobacco-related health care costs, including Medicaid expenses. States can realize even greater health benefits and cost savings by allocating some of the revenue to programs that prevent children from smoking and help smokers quit.

Political Win: National and state polls consistently have found overwhelming public support for tobacco tax increases. Polls also show that, when it comes to balancing budgets, voters prefer raising tobacco taxes to other tax increases or cutting crucial programs such as education and public safety….

Then again, the republican controlled General Assembly has more important things to address.

And, we’re number fifty!:

Fight Over Missouri’s Cigarette Tax Heats Up; Lung Association Gives State Failing Grade

By Chad Garrison Tue., Jan. 24 2012 at 9:52 AM

Missouri received its annual report card last week from the American Lung Association. The result ain’t pretty.

The state earned an “F” for tobacco prevention and control (spending just $58,693 last year to prevent tobacco use statewide); an “F” for smoke-free air (with legislators refusing to pass a statewide smoking ban and prohibitions in St. Louis and St. Louis County allowing people to continue to light up in bars and casinos); an “F” for its 17-cent per pack cigarette tax (the lowest in the nation) and an “F” for it cessation efforts with Missouri spending 53 cents per smoker when the CDC recommends at least $10.53 per smoker….

Currently the lowest cigarette tax in the nation. Cough.