Proposed tobacco tax hike will stay on Missouri ballot - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Proposed tobacco tax hike will stay on Missouri ballot

(Source: AP Graphics Bank) (Source: AP Graphics Bank)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Supreme Court says voters will get to decide whether to raise cigarette taxes to benefit early childhood programs.

Judges ruled Tuesday that the proposal will stay on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The measure would phase in a 60-cent-per-pack increase of the state's lowest-in-the-nation tobacco taxes. It also would raise fees by 67 cents a pack for off-brand cigarettes, in addition to the tax hike.

Cigarette giant Reynolds American Inc. is backing the proposal.

Opponents sued to get the measure off the ballot. At issue was a lower court ruling that a summary of the proposal was inaccurate because it didn't mention the off-brand cigarette fee would increase annually.

Critics had argued signatures gathered using that summary shouldn't count, which would have bumped it off the ballot.

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