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Raise the Missouri Tobacco Tax and Invest in Education

August 21, 2012   Missouri voters likely will have the chance to remove the state from the nation’s ash tray this November. The opportunity must not be squandered. The state’s tax on cigarettes is 17 cents a pack. No other state allows smokers to purchase tobacco products so cheaply. The national average tax is $1.49 a pack. Over the last 10 years, all but three states have increased cigarette taxes. Some have raised them multiple times.  But not Missouri. Its elected leaders will not even have that conversation. They would rather cut money from schools and universities and what remains of the safety net than charge more for a habit that is estimated to cost every Missouri household $586 a year for medical expenses incurred by state and federal taxpayers.

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