Approval of both cigarette tax-hike proposals could cause confusion

At a meeting Tuesday, Missouri election officials raised questions about what could happen if voters endorse two separate but competing referendums to raise cigarette taxes in November.

One measure would increase Missouri’s tax of 17 cents per pack by 23 cents, generating revenue for road and bridge repairs. It is backed by the Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association and is being bankrolled by value-driven cigarette companies including Cheyenne International LLC and Xcaliber International Ltd.

The other proposal would raise the tax by 60 cents per pack, with the proceeds going toward early childhood education and preventive health programs. The proposal is backed by the Raise Your Hand for Kids nonprofit, with Reynolds American Inc. contributing to the effort.

Supporters of the efforts say that because the two tax hikes don’t conflict with one another, both plans could be adopted, putting Missouri’s lowest-in-the-nation tax on cigarettes closer to the middle of the pack.

Both referendums are positioned to go before voters in the Nov. 8 election.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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