A ruling by a Cole County judge has put the fate of a proposed ballot measure raising Missouri’s tobacco tax to fund early childhood education in jeopardy.
Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green ruled Thursday that the financial estimate prepared by the state auditor’s office for a proposed ballot measure raising the 17-cents-per-pack tobacco tax by 60 cents over five years was insufficient and unfair.
He said the auditor’s estimate for how much money the tax would raise didn’t account for a possible drop in cigarette sales because of higher cigarette prices.
That ruling could mean the more than 300,000 signatures collected to put the proposal on the fall ballot by the nonprofit Raise Your Hand for Kids are no longer valid.
Raise Your Hand for Kids’ attorney, Edward Greim, said an appeal has already been filed with the Western District Court of Appeals.