Judge Orders Tobacco Tax onto Missouri Ballot

SEPTEMBER 12, 2006 - Posted at 7:24 a.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - A state judge has ordered a proposed tobacco tax increase to appear on Missouri's November 7 ballot.

Cole County Circuit Judge Thomas Brown ruled that supporters gathered enough valid petition signatures to put it on the ballot.

Brown overturned a decision by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan that the petition was 274 names short of the required number in the Kansas City area.

The proposed constitutional amendment will ask voters to raise the state's 17 cents-per-pack cigarette tax to 97 cents.

It would also increase taxes on other tobacco products to 30 percent of the manufacturer's invoice price.  That's instead of the current ten percent.

The projected proceeds of at least $351 million a year would go toward health care and anti-tobacco programs.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)