Cigarette Tax

Jason Kander speaks at the Missouri Democratic Party's annual dinner, the Truman Dinner, at Busch Stadium.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Secretary of State Jason Kander has, for now, decided not to disqualify a proposed constitutional amendment that would raise Missouri's cigarette tax.

The proposal would gradually raise the tax by 60 cents a pack by the year 2020, and by as much as $1.27 on some packs.

Curran | Flickr

The Missouri Supreme Court has rejected a request that it weigh in on a lawsuit against a proposed tobacco tax increase.

The court's decision could kill off the initiative-petition effort to get the proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot.

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seannaber | Flickr

A Missouri appeals court will hear arguments Thursday in a case that could result in a proposed cigarette tax increases being kicked off the November ballot.

cigarette closeup
G.Arands | Flickr | Creative Commons license

Updated with MNEA decision - One of two ballot initiatives that would increase Missouri’s cigarette tax may be in trouble. A Cole County judge has said the fiscal note on a 60-cent-a-pack proposal overestimates the revenue that would be raised. He has directed the auditor to review the projection, and that would invalidate the petitions turned in by Raise Your Hand for Kids.

The organization has said it will appeal.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon - Occasionally, one stumbles across an unexpected harmonic convergence. The experience is similar to déjà vu, but without the “already done this” part.

Rather than reliving the past, you undergo a minor epiphany in the present when you suddenly realize that seemingly unrelated events are, in fact, different faces of the same coin. Recent news provides a case in point.

Flickr/SuperFantastic

Despite being rejected by voters last month, there’s a new proposal to raise Missouri’s cigarette tax.

It’s part of a bill prefiled in the Missouri Senate that would also raise the state’s sales tax by one-half percent while fixing the state income tax rate at a flat 4 percent.  The proposal would raise the cigarette tax by 26 cents, from its current 17 cents per pack to 43 cents per pack.  It’s sponsored by Republican Senator John Lamping of St. Louis County.

Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri voters have narrowly defeated an effort to raise the state’s tobacco tax.

If Proposition B had passed, the tax on a pack of cigarettes would have gone from the lowest in the nation, at 17 cents, up to 90 cents.

Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri has the lowest cigarette tax of any state in the country – and some of the highest smoking and lung cancer rates. A measure on tomorrow’s ballot – Proposition B – is aiming to change that.

While previous efforts to raise Missouri’s cigarette tax have failed, proponents of this increase are more optimistic.

Robert Peterson / St. Louis Public Radio

In the third of four discussions as part of our town hall meeting about statewide ballot issues we take a look at Proposition B, concerning a tobacco tax increase.

Host Don Marsh talks with Dudley McCarter, an attorney and board member of Missourians for Health and Education, and Ron Leone, the Executive Director of the Missouri Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association. 

McCarter supports Proposition B and Leone opposes it.

Official Ballot Title: (source: Missouri Secretary of State website)

Chris McDaniel / Beyond November

Democratic US Senator Claire McCaskill is throwing her support behind the November ballot initiative that would raise the cigarette tax in Missouri. If approved, the initiative would increase the current cigarette tax from the lowest in the nation at 17 cents, to 90 cents.

(via Flickr/jennlynndesign)

Missouri voters will be asked in November to raise the state's tobacco tax and let St. Louis run its own police department.

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced Tuesday that supporters of those proposals had submitted enough signatures from voters to put the questions on the statewide ballot.

Two other initiatives failed to make the ballot. One would raise Missouri's minimum wage, while the other would place new restrictions on payday loans.

Proponents of those measures immediately said they would challenge their exclusions in court.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Six lawsuits involving three ballot initiatives were heard Monday by the Missouri Supreme Court.

At stake are ballot questions that would raise Missouri’s cigarette tax, raise the minimum wage to $8.25 an hour, and cap interest rates on payday loans.  The fate of all three may turn on whether the State Auditor has the authority to estimate the financial impact of citizens’ petition initiatives.  Attorney Ronald Holliger argued that the High Court should uphold a lower court ruling supporting the State Auditor’s authority.

This story will be updated.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed nearly $1.6 billion worth of cuts to Medicaid into law.

His signature means that nearly 25,000 working parents will lose state-funded health care on July 1. Regular dental care is being eliminated for adults. Those who need eyeglasses will be able to get a new pair once every two years. And patients who take more than four prescription drugs will have to get prior approval from the state.

Quinn this morning also signed a dollar-a-pack increase in the state’s cigarette tax.

File photo

Updated 4:30 p.m. with Quinn's comments

Updated 3:57 p.m. with the full Senate's approval of the proposal

Illinois lawmakers have approved raising cigarette taxes by $1 a pack. It now goes to Gov. Pat Quinn, who supports the increase.

The state Senate approved the legislation 31-27 Tuesday in a vote that largely followed party lines.

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seannaber | Flickr

The Illinois House has agreed to raise tobacco taxes as part of a plan to strengthen the state Medicaid program.

The tax increase passed 60-52 Friday. It now goes to the Senate, which has backed similar increases in the past.

It more than doubles the tax on cigarettes, to $1.98 a pack. Other tobacco products would see a similar tax increase.

It also would create a special tax on hospitals that would then be matched by the federal government and returned to the state.

In all, it's supposed to raise $800 million a year for the Medicaid program.

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seannaber | Flickr

Gov. Jay Nixon says he does not intend to get involved in a campaign to raise Missouri's lowest-in-nation cigarette tax.

Supporters are expected to turn in petition signatures this week for a November ballot initiative asking voters to raise the Missouri's tax on a pack of cigarettes to 90 cents from the current 17 cents.

Nixon said Monday his focus is "to hold the line on taxes" but Missouri voters are entitled to voice their own opinions at the ballot box.

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Gov. Pat Quinn says saving the Illinois Medicaid program will require cutting services, raising cigarette taxes and cutting payments to health-care providers.

Aides to the Democratic governor told The Associated Press on Thursday that Quinn is proposing a cigarette tax increase of $1 per pack. They expect the tax to generate about $337 million, which would then be matched by the federal government.

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seannaber | Flickr

The state with the lowest tax on cigarettes? No, not tobacco country -- Virginia or North Carolina. It's Missouri, with a tax of just 17 cents a pack. The national average is a buck and a half. But health advocates are pushing a ballot initiative to increase the levy in Missouri.

Our own Maria Altman reports for Marketplace Morning Report today.

(via Flickr/Fried Dough)

Yet another bill has been filed in the General Assembly this year that would raise Missouri’s cigarette tax, currently the lowest in the nation.

This one would raise it to 75 percent of the current national average – in other words, from 17 cents per pack to $1.09-1/2 cents per pack.  Missouri’s tax per pack would also rise or fall as the national average changes, and it would require a referendum by Missouri voters to take effect.  The bill was filed by State Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford (D, St. Louis), who spoke in favor of raising the cigarette tax during budget debates on Thursday.

(via flickr/University of Missouri System)

Former University of Missouri interim president dies

The interim president of the University of Missouri system in 2007 and 2008 died Monday. Gordon Lamb was 77.  

Lamb also served as the president of Northeast Illinois University in Chicago and the interim chancellor of University of Wisconsin-Parkside, the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg.

Current interim president Steve Owens released a statement Thursday night, announcing Lamb's death.

(via Flickr/curran.kelleher)

Reporting by KCUR's Elana Gordon was used in this story.

Two petitions that would affect taxes on tobacco products in Missouri are going through the approval process for circulation.

One would give cities and counties the ability to set and control tobacco taxes. The state has preempted local tobacco taxes since 1993.

Petitions supporters say local communities should have the right to determine how tobacco tax dollars are used. But Misty Snodgrass with the American Cancer Society says the proposal is problematic.

Flickr/Fried Dough

Mo. Senator wants to increase cigarette tax and eliminate state income tax for low income people

Republican state Sen. John Lamping, of Ladue, has filed legislation that would exempt anyone earning less than $2,000 from having to pay state income tax and slightly lower the taxes for people earning more than that. His legislation would offset the projected $128 million reduction in state income tax revenues by increasing the cigarette tax to 43 cents per pack.

Missouri's current cigarette tax of 17 cents per pack is the lowest in the nation.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The 2012 Missouri legislative session is underway, and much of the first-day talk revolved around the challenges facing the state’s public schools.

In addition to Missouri’s K-12 schools not being fully funded, suburban school districts near St. Louis and Kansas City may be forced to accept thousands of transfer students from the inner cities, thanks to the State Supreme Court’s ruling in Turner v. Clayton.  House Speaker Steven Tilley (R, Perryville) says any solutions to those problems should include tuition tax credits for kids in unaccredited areas, and statewide expansion of charter schools.

The University of Missouri has chosen its next president and expects to announce its decision next week.  Board of Curators chairman Warren Erdman says a search committee began with a pool of more than 100 candidates from academic and non-academic backgrounds alike.

"We had four interviews and we worked our way down to a couple second interviews," Erdman said. "Then there were a few telephone follow-ups.  In the end, the committee recommended a single finalist."

Flickr/GoTRISI

Wentzville Mayor: news couldn't be better

The United Auto Workers announced Tuesday that GM plans to invest $380 million and bring more than 1,800 jobs to its Wentzville plant as part of a proposed contract with the union.

Mayor Paul Lambi says he's hoping the union will ratify the contract on Monday.

"The announcement made by the UAW seems to be a positive indication that contract negotiations went well," said Lambi. " And it seems to me that I would expect that contract to be approved and ratified."

(via Flickr/seannaber)

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.

  • The St. Louis Blues are for sale. Team chairman Dave Checketts said Wednesday night that his group, Sports Capital Partners Worldwide, and Towerbrook Capital Partners have placed the NHL franchise and the Scottrade Center on the market. The two groups own roughly 90 percent of the franchise. Checketts, who placed at least a pair of deadlines on the table regarding purchasing majority ownership, cited a difference in terms with TowerBrook on the value of the franchise.
(via Flickr/seannaber)

An Illinois Senate committee has voted to raise cigarette taxes by $1 a pack and use the money for construction projects around the state.

Senators split along party lines Wednesday, with nine Democrats supporting the increase and six Republicans opposing it. The measure now goes to the full Senate.

Democrats say the cigarette tax could replace other sources of construction money that are tied up in a legal dispute. They also say it would cut state health costs by discouraging smoking.

Republicans argue the increase would disproportionately fall on the poor.

Curran | Flickr

Cigarettes are in the news again, but this time it's not about banning the smoking of them.

Eleven men from the St. Louis and Chicago areas are facing federal indictment for allegedly trafficking in contraband cigarettes.

The U.S. Attorney's office in St. Louis announced the indictments on Thursday. Four of the men are from suburban St. Louis, five are from Chicago and two are from Chicago suburbs.

(via Flickr / Super Fantastic)

There must be thousands of St. Louisans struggling through day three of a new year's resolution not to smoke.  In fact, Barry Freedman, Project Manager for Communities Putting Prevention to Work with the St. Louis County Department of Health says a survey of St. Louis smokers shows that nearly 60% say they'd like to quit in the next six months.