Proposed tobacco tax hike goes to Missouri Supreme Court

Proposed tobacco tax hike goes to Missouri Supreme Court

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - An attorney defending a proposal to raise Missouri tobacco taxes for early childhood programs says taking it off the ballot would violate backers' constitutional right to use the initiative petition process.

Attorney Jane Dueker argued Thursday to state Supreme Court judges that it should go to voters Nov. 8, despite concerns that it made it on the ballot after using a misleading summary.

An appeals court has ruled that the short description of the proposal given to petition signers was unfair.

The measure would hike cigarette taxes from 17 cents to 77 cents a pack by 2020 and create a 67-cent-per-pack "equity" fee on off-brand cigarettes that would increase annually for inflation.

Attorney Chuck Hatfield told judges to kick it off the ballot. He says the original summary was misleading.

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