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.
Missouri is holding its presidential primary tomorrow, and turnout is expected to be extremely low. That is in part because the votes won't count, even though the primary will close taxpayers millions of dollars.
A federal stimulus program to help stabilize state budgets is coming to a close tomorrow. The government provided some $90 billion in emergency funds to help state government get past collapsing tax revenues, and help pay for such services as education and health care. Now, states are having to slash spending.