Attorney General Jay Nixon opposed to cigarette tax plan

Saturday, April 15, 2006

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Attorney General Jay Nixon said Friday he opposes a ballot proposal that would raise taxes on cigarettes and devote money to health-care providers and anti-smoking efforts.

The measure would raise the tax on cigarettes by 80 cents a pack and by 20 percent on other tobacco products. Supporters are gathering signatures in an attempt to put the proposed constitutional amendment before voters in November.

Nixon said he opposes the idea for many reasons, including the fact that state officials have not dedicated Missouri's share of funds from a national tobacco settlement to efforts to curb smoking.

"At this particular juncture additional taxes with this kind of track record are not warranted," Nixon said.

If the measure gets on the ballot and voters approve it, it could raise between $351 million and $499 million a year.

Most of that money would go to paying health care providers, but 17.5 percent would go to anti-smoking efforts.

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