Step forward for tobacco tax supporters
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Step forward for tobacco tax supporters

Date: October 11, 2006
By: Lucie Wolken
State Capitol Bureau

Intro: Voters will decide whether a 80 cent tax increase will be imposed on cigarettes.  The Missouri Supreme Court voted unanimously that the tobacco tax increase will be allowed on the ballot on Nov. 7.  Lucie Wolken has more from the state Capitol. 

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Proponents of the tax increase estimate that between 3.5 and 5 million dollars would be generated annually.  The funds would be used to support tobacco-use-prevention programs as well as health-care programs. 

Ronald Leone, Executive Director of the Missouri Convenience Store Association, contends that the initiative is not about smoking or the dangers of tobacco.

 

Actuality:  LEONE1.WAV
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Description: "Amendment T3 is about the greed of cooperate health care that the hospitals, HMOs and drug companies and it's about the government wasting more of our taxpayer dollars." 

 

Leone also argues that if the initiative does pass, Missouri will lose its competitive low-price edge.  Missouri's current 17 cent tobacco tax is the second lowest in the nation behind South Carolina's 7 cent tax.

In Jefferson City, I am Lucie Wolken   

Intro: The Supreme Court ruled voters will decide whether an 80-cent increase on tobacco products will be imposed.  Lucie Wolken has more from the state Capital. 

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Proponents of Amendment 3 argue that the money generated from the 80-cent tax increase would improve health care at no cost to non-smokers.  The money generated from the tax would fund anti-tobacco and health-care programs. 

However, MU economics professor, Joe Haslag conducted a study on the tax increase and found that the tax would not be sufficient to cover health-care costs for Missourians below the two-hundred percent poverty line.

 

Actuality:  HASLAG1.WAV
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Description: "400 thousand Missourians are going to fall under that income threshold and if we just have the funds that are available from the tobacco tax that will cover on average the expenses of 40,000 Missourians."

This latest ruling comes less than a month before elections on Nov. 7. 

In the state Capital, I am Lucie Wolken.