Mar 01

Lighting Up Another Tobacco Tax Increase Effort In Missouri

by Mike Ferguson

(St. Charles, MO) – It’s been tried before (three times) but supporters hope this time it doesn’t go up in smoke.

The effort is called the “Raise Your Hand For Kids” campaign and it’s designed to raise taxes on tobacco in order to pay for more early childhood education and health services.MWSnap059

Brian Schmidt from the campaign, which is an effort by the Alliance for Childhood Education, says the state would collect the additional 50 cents per pack of cigarettes in taxes and then distribute the money to counties. From there, Schmidt says, local governments can decide how best to spend the money – as long as it’s for education and/health for children up to five years old.

Missouri currently has the nation’s lowest state tax on cigarettes.

Former Republican State Representative Carl Bearden now runs United For Missouri, a conservative statewide advocacy organization. He’s not on board with the plan.MWSnap060

While Bearden agrees that most everyone wants better education and health services for children, he argues that another tax increase is not going to accomplish that. During this week’s “Missouri Viewpoints”, Bearden says the tax would actually do more harm than good in some instances because the tax would hit poor Missourians harder than others because, he contends, the poor are more likely to smoke and not likely to quit even when the cost goes up

What do you think? Tell us on the “Missouri Viewpoints” Facebook page.

The “Raise Your Hand For Kids” campaign hopes to put the idea on the statewide ballot in 2016.

On the web:

“Raise Your Hand For Kids” campaign: http://www.raiseyourhandforkids.org/

United For Missouri: www.UnitedForMissouri.org

Permanent link to this article: http://missouriviewpoints.com/lighting-up-another-tobacco-tax-increase-effort-in-missouri/