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Proposal to Increase Cigarette Tax Receives Mixed Opinions

March 20, 2002
By: Ashley Hall
State Capital Bureau

Many people, including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, hope a proposed Senate bill goes up in smoke. Ashley Hall has more in Jefferson City.


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Cigarette taxes would more than double under a bill proposed by Senator Wayne Goode.

Opponents of the bill include the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, who recently had employee Ramond McCarty speak out against the bill.

Actuality:
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OutCue: the internet
Contents: By increasing the tax on tobacco products to 20 percent of the manufacturers invoice price, it will make Missouri's price higher than 5 of Missouri's bordering states. Retailers in our state not only compete with border locations, but also worldwide due to the tax difference on Internet sales, and cigarettes and other tobacco products are available over the Internet.

Currently, the average tax on a pack of cigarettes is 17 cents, but under this bill it would increase to 50 cents.

The additional receipts would be added to the general revenue fund.

From Jefferson City, Ashley Hall.


Smokers will be paying 33 cents more a pack under a bill proposed by Senator Wayne Goode.

The additional revenue, estimated to be over 75 million dollars in 2003, would be added to the general revenue fund.

Some opponents claim that an increase in the cost of tobacco products would decrease sales, defeating the purpose of the bill.

Senator Goode refuted the opposition, saying it doesn't matter whether the outcome is increased revenue or reduced smoking.

Actuality:
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OutCue: that's good
Contents: The tax raised by this bill would go into general revenue. Mr. Chairman, if some of the witnesses are right, and the bill causes fewer sales, well, that's fine too. If we end up breaking even on revenue, because we reduced smoking, that wouldn't be all bad. It's a win situation: if we reduce smoking, that's good, if we raise the revenue we need, that's good.

Opponents are worried that a higher cigarette price will lead to an increase in online or out-of-state purchases.

From Jefferson City, Ashley Hall.