You can be pro-education and vote no on Prop B

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Proposition B's outrageous and unfair 760 percent tax increase, the largest tax increase in Missouri's history, is not about education or health care. It's about greedy special interest groups, responsible tax policies, the proper size and scope of government, and politicians wasting even more of your tax dollars.

Misleading Statistics. Tobacco and health care statistics are irrelevant to the Prop B debate since not one single dime of Prop B is required to be spent on treating tobacco related diseases. Shouldn't a "sin tax" be used to cure the "sin"?

Education money will be diverted -- again. The state's budget is a shell game and there is no "lock box" guarantee that Prop B will actually increase education funding. Remember the broken funding promises that came with the lottery and casinos? Don't be fooled again.

Opposed By Right to Life, Farm Bureau and others. Prop B is opposed by many, including Missouri Right to Life, Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Family Network, Gov. Jay Nixon, Republican gubernatorial candidate Dave Spence and many others.

Everyone will pay the $67-plus million tab. Prop B increases government spending by hundreds of millions of dollars per year, could be used to expand welfare and fund "Obamacare," and a leading economist predicts a decrease in tobacco sales alone will decrease state and local sales and other tax revenue by at least $67 million per year. The middle class will pay this tab forever -- just like always.

Slush fund for greedy political insiders. Prop B sets up a panel of nine unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats who control hundreds of millions of tax dollars. Prop B even allows these insiders to pay their friends and pocket this tax money!

Low taxes are a good thing. Low taxes on gasoline, alcohol and tobacco encourage cross-border sales from our higher-taxed border states which drives economic development, creates jobs, and generates much needed local and state tax revenue. Increasing any tax when unemployment is high, housing prices are low, and no one can afford to retire is a terrible idea.

Billions wasted. Since 2000, Missouri has spent $3.4 billion in tobacco settlement payments and taxes. Why trust politicians with even more tax dollars?

Are you next? If you let the tax and spend fanatics put an outrageous 760 percent tax increase on smokers, then don't be surprised when they tax something you do care about -- guns, big sodas, gasoline, fast food or alcohol. At least now you can't say you weren't warned.

Kitchen table moment. You know when you're home watching the news or reading the newspaper and you think, "Government is bigger and more out-of-control than ever" and "Politicians are only concerned about getting elected and not about solving problems?"

Well, this is your chance to do something about it.

All Missourians, smokers and nonsmokers alike, can agree that while education deserves to be adequately funded and tobacco deserves to be fairly taxed, Prop B's outrageous and unfair 760 percent tax increase is simply too big and too dangerous.

Enough is enough. Please "Vote ‘No' on Prop B!"

Ronald J. Leone is the executive director of the Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association (MPCA) located in Jefferson City, Mo.

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