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Upcoming Proposition B Supported by Rockwood Drug-Free Coalition

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Coalition leaders encourage everyone to "be informed voters on Nov. 6 by visiting www.showmeabrighterfuture.com for more information on Proposition B." See where Missouri ranks in national cigarette taxes.

Members of Eureka-based Rockwood Drug-Free Coalition support Proposition B, the November ballot initiative seeking a tobacco tax increase. We believe voters will benefit from additional information about this initiative.

Propostion B will raise the tax on ONE product: tobacco. Missouri currently has the lowest cigarette tax in the country at 17 cents per pack. If Prop B passes, the cigarette tax will increase by 73 cents, making the tax 90 cents. This is well below the national average of $1.46.

Missouri ranks 39th of the 50 states in life expectancy, and has the 11th highest smoking rate, with 21 percent of adults smoking tobacco.

According to the 2012 Missouri Student Survey, 14 percent of middle and high school students have tried tobacco and the average age of first use is 12 years old.

Tobacco is considered a primary "gateway drug," as are alcohol and marijuana. Most people who become addicted to other drugs, such as prescription medication and heroin, report their substance use began at an early age with tobacco, alcohol and/or marijuana.

Supporting this addictive behavior, and the extremely high healthcare and lost productivity costs associated with it, is not acceptable to us. An increase in the ridiculously low tobacco tax likely will reduce tobacco use rates, and will generate approximately $283 million in annual revenue at a time when our state desperately needs these funds.

Revenue from the tobacco tax would be split three ways, with an emphasis on providing new funding for Missouri schools:

  • 50 percent to Missouri elementary and secondary schools
  • 30 percent to Missouri colleges and universities
  • 20 percent to cessation programs for smokers who want to quit and prevention programming for youth

Sincerely,

Executive Committee, Rockwood Drug-Free Coalition

500 N. Central Ave., Eureka

Joe October 31, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Prop B backers fail to reveal one huge fact about their numbers. The leave out the multi-millions in income the State of Missouri receives from bordering state purchasers of Missouri Tobacco products, not to mention other items like gas,supplies etc. these out of state buyers purchase while getting tobacco in Missouri. Take these millions of dollars out and their school money falls flat. Prop B is anti-income for the state. Missouri has the most states that border it than any other state. Missouri also has the lowest tobacco taxes of any state. The net affect of this is that surrounding states and their smokers come to Missouri to purchase tobacco products, along with gas, and other items while they are here. The amount of tobacco products sold is far greater than the amount of smokers in Missouri. The present low tax rate set on Missouri tabacco products has set up a Cash Cow for The State of Missouri tax base and thousands of Missouri businesses. The only affect that Prop B would have is to stop the out of state tabacco users from buying their product in Missouri as well as gas and other items, reducing our tax base. In addition, when smoking is finally snuffed out, we will no longer have a tobacco tax base to rely on, which means we will have to increase taxes on something else like property or sales taxes etc. If Missouri gas were $1.00 a gallon less than Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Etc. your buying here. Voting NO on Prop B is the only smart thing to do.

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