Tobacco companies lining up against each other over proposed cigarette tax

SOUTH ST. LOUIS COUNTYU, MO (KPLR) - Missouri voters will be able to decide whether a tobacco tax increase of 60-cents per pack will become law.  The Missouri Supreme Court rejected a challenge by opponents, and will allow the measure to appear on the November 8th ballot.

Shortly after the ruling, opponents issued a press releasing listing a host of agencies and more than 100 state lawmakers opposing the measure.  They cite concerns over the fact that big tobacco is actually throwing support behind it.

Jane Dueker is a spokesperson for the group supporting Amendment 3.  She was also the lead attorney who argued successfully before the Missouri Supreme Court.  She contends the measure would address a critical need in Missouri.  Money from the tax would fund early childhood programs across the state.

“I don’t really care who’s behind it, when I see that the words say this money is going to the kids,” said Dueker.

Ronald J. Leone is the executive director of the Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association.  He calls Amendment 3 a “scam”.  He says the measure would target smaller tobacco companies with a bigger tax increase.

“Big tobacco is literally trying to pass tax increases on their competition in order to sell more of their cigarettes,” said Leone.

Voters will also be faced with a separate ballot initiative that would increase the tax on a pack of cigarettes by 23 cents.

Here is a complete list of the ballot measures Missouri voter will see on the November ballot.