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<img src=http://www.kwmu.org/pic/speakersm.gif border=0> Missourians to decide whether smokers pay more

By Matt Sepic, KWMU


St. Louis, MO – Aside from a U.S. Senate race that has drawn national attention, Missourians this year will face votes on a number of ballot issues.

One of those questions would ask whether the state's tax on tobacco should be raised.

Supporters say it would help fund health care for the poor, but opponents say it might back the state into fiscal commitments it might not be able to meet in the future.

KWMU's Matt Sepic prepared this report.

Election 2006
Amendment 3 - ballot text

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to create a Healthy Future Trust Fund which will: 1. be used to reduce and prevent tobacco use, to increase funding for healthcare access and treatment for eligible low-income individuals and Medicaid recipients, and to cover administrative costs;

2. be funded by a tax of four cents per cigarette and twenty percent on other tobacco products; and

3. be kept separate from general revenue and annually audited?

Additional taxes of four cents per cigarette and twenty percent of the manufacturer's invoice price on other tobacco products generates an estimated $351 - $499 million annually for tobacco control programs, healthcare for low income Missourians, and payments for services provided to Missouri Medicaid beneficiaries and uninsured Missourians. Local governmental fiscal impact is unknown.