Understanding Proposition A and Amendment 3 - KMOV.com

Understanding Proposition A and Amendment 3

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ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- The average state cigarette tax is $1.65 per pack. Missouri has the lowest cigarette tax in the country at just $0.17 per pack. Both Proposition A and Amendment 3 aim to raise that number, though the proposed taxes are different amounts and will be used for different things.

Proposition A will add 23 cents to Missouri’s tobacco tax over five years.

13 cents in 2017

5 cents in 2019

5 cents in 2021.

It also taxes non-cigarette tobacco products at five percent of the product’s invoice price. The revenue from the tax will go to the Transportation Infrastructure Fund.

Amendment 3 would increase Missouri’s cigarette tax 60 cents by 2020, adding 15 cents per year each of the next four years.

15 cents in 2017

15 cents in 2018

15 cents in 2019

15 cents in 2020
Revenue from this tax would go to the State School Money Fund, the Health Initiatives Fund and the Fair Share Fund. 75 percent of the review would be promised to grants for early childhood education programs.

The campaigns for both ballot measures are largely funded by tobacco companies.

Large tobacco companies like RJ Reynolds support Amendment 3, while smaller companies like Cheyenne, LLC, Xcaliber International and tobacco wholesalers support Prop A.

This difference in support is because Amendment 3 also proposes a fee of 67 cents per pack for tobacco wholesalers. Groups in support of Prop A, chiefly The Missouri Petroleum Markets and Convenience Store Association, say Amendment 3 is an attempt by large tobacco companies to tax their competition. Groups supporting Amendment 3 say the provision closes a loophole that allows small companies to evade tax payments.

Many health-related organizations, including both the American Heart and American Lung Associations oppose both Amendment 3 and Proposition A. These groups say neither measure adequately discourages smoking or deters young people from starting to smoke. They also feel that while both measures would raise taxes, they are small increases designed to avoid larger increases in the future.

Opponents of Proposition A say the increase is too small and will not substantially help the transportation budget, noting many who support the measure have opposed raising the transportation tax in the past. They also take issue with language in the proposition that says it will be repealed if another measure to increase taxes on tobacco appears on a ballot in the future.

Opponents of Amendment 3 say the measure is full of tobacco-friendly language, and rolls other concerns into the amendment. One major issue is the provision that none of the tax revenue can be used for tobacco-related research. It also blocks any of the revenue from being spent on abortion services or clinics, and stem cell therapies. Opponents also say the measure lacks oversight, as a commission of 13 unelected officials will manage the revenue generated by the tax. This could conceivably allow private institutions access to public funds and detractors add there is no guarantee the money will go to childhood education, despite the language in the amendment saying it will.

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