Prominent business groups in Missouri have spoken out recently on both sides of the ballot measure known as Amendment 3, which would increase cigarette taxes to fund childhood health and education.
Supporters of the amendment, including Associated Industries of Missouri and the Missouri Retailers Association, argue that lack of investment in children and their education can affect the workforce and productivity.
They point to numbers from a 2015 study by the National Institute for Early Education that show only 4 percent of Missouri children ages four-year-olds attend state-funded pre-school. Most of Missouri’s surrounding states have no less than 20 percent of their four-year-olds. Oklahoma sits at 75 percent.
Opponents of the amendment include the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Stowers Institute for Medical Research, Washington University in St. Louis, and the American Cancer Society.
They argue that the proposed tax is insufficient to effectively cut the rate of smoking, adds provisions such as a ban on stem cell research as well as research into the dangers of smoking, and prevents the state legislature from enacting additional limitations on tobacco.