Tobacco Tax

Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Sept. 20 with high court ruling – Within the past 24 hours, the Missouri Supreme Court has taken actions guaranteeing that two disputed ballot initiatives will go before voters in November.

The most recent action came Tuesday afternoon, when the High Court unanimously ruled in favor of Amendment 3, which would raise Missouri's cigarette tax by as much as $1.27 a pack.  It would use the proceeds to fund early childhood education programs, and would bring in an estimated $300 million a year.

Curran | Flickr

If an initiative’s ballot title promises free puppies to all voters, but its language actually calls for expanding puppy mills, should the proposal be allowed to remain on the ballot?

That question, posed Thursday by a judge on the Missouri Supreme Court, gets at the heart of the court fight to decide whether a proposal to increase Missouri’s tobacco tax by $1.27 a pack can remain on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Both sides argued before the high court early Thursday. A ruling is expected within days.


The Missouri Supreme Court is expected to decide as soon as today whether to consider the fate of a proposed tobacco tax increase that backers hope to get on the November ballot.

Secretary of State Jason Kander’s office made the request late Tuesday, after an appeals court declined to reconsider its ruling last week that could kill the proposed constitutional amendment.

Curran | Flickr

Updated with reaction: Backers of a ballot proposal to increase Missouri’s tobacco tax apparently have only until 4 p.m. Monday to seek a rehearing or an appeal of a court ruling that otherwise could keep the measure off the November ballot.

Late Saturday, the backers — officially known as the Raise Your Hand for Kids coalition — filed the paperwork to do just that. Other players in the court fight still face the Monday deadline.

All of the action comes after a state appeals court ruled Friday that the ballot summary for the proposed constitutional amendment was  “unfair, insufficient and likely to mislead voters.”

StanJourdan | Flickr

For now, it’s all over but the counting. The Missouri Secretary of State’s office will be busy the next few weeks determining whether five initiative-petition proposals collected enough valid signatures to get on the state’s August or November ballot.

File photo

After months of mulling over the details, an unlikely coalition of convenience stores, gas stations and low-cost cigarette companies has hit the streets to collect signatures for a proposed 23-cent-a-pack hike in Missouri’s tobacco tax – now the nation’s lowest.

Under the initiative petition that the group began circulating this week, the estimated $100 million a year that the higher tax would raise would be designated for the state’s transportation needs.


The second group in a week has filed proposed initiative petitions aimed at increasing Missouri’s tobacco tax.

A campaign group called Raise Your Hand For Kids on Wednesday filed six versions of an initiative-petition proposal for the 2016 ballot that call for increasing the state’s cigarette tax by 50 cents a pack.

Curran | Flickr

Three years after killing off Missouri’s latest statewide tobacco-tax proposal, the group representing many Missouri gas stations and convenience stores has filed two initiative-petition proposals of its own to hike the tax.

Missouri’s tobacco tax is now 17 cents a pack and is the nation’s lowest. The Missouri Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association’s proposals would increase the per-pack tax to 40 cents by 2021.