Mo. lawmaker calls for cigarette tax increase
A Missouri House member wants to ask voters to raise the state cigarette tax by 81 cents a pack.
Democrat Chris Kelly, of Columbia, outlined his plan Thursday to a House committee. He's proposing a future statewide vote on whether to raise Missouri's current 17-cent tax - the lowest in the nation - to 98 cents per pack.
Kelly says the increase could generate $425 million in state revenue, discourage people from smoking and bring down state health care costs.
Officials from Missouri's convenience store industry say raising the tax would hurt their business. They say Missouri's cigarette tax rate gives it an advantage over nearby states with higher rates.
Voters rejected tobacco tax proposals in 2002 and 2006.