Our opinion Vote 'yes' to boost tobacco tax

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Posted: Saturday, October 20, 2012 11:55 pm | Updated: 10:54 am, Mon Oct 22, 2012.

The arguments for Missouri’s Proposition B — the tobacco tax on the Nov. 6 ballot — are unusually compelling:

  • Extend the lives of thousands of state residents, particularly young people, by prompting them to smoke less, to quit or to not start in the first place.
  • Restore sense to policies that make cigarettes relatively cheap here at the same time all state taxpayers are on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicaid spending directly related to smoking.
  • Invest hundreds of millions of dollars in tax proceeds in things that can improve lives and our state’s future — 50 percent for public schools, 30 percent for colleges and universities, 20 percent for smoking prevention and cessation programs.

At 17 cents a pack, our cigarette tax is last in the nation. The proposed 73-cent boost would put us in the middle in our nine-state region and keep us easily in the bottom half of all states. And yet, by all reliable accounts the increase would be enormously helpful in heading off health problems and related costs.

Nearly one-fourth of adults in Northwest Missouri smoke cigarettes — even in the face of research of the last three decades that demonstrates how dramatically this increases health risks. Between 15 and 20 percent of our high school students smoke cigarettes.

Think about it: Our lowest-in-the-nation cigarette tax almost certainly contributes to the 10,000 deaths a year in the state linked to tobacco use. We have the 11th highest smoking rate in the nation and the 8th highest deaths from lung cancer.

Credible studies indicate that if the increase passes, 33,000 adult smokers will quit over five years and more than 40,000 youths never will become addicted as adults. There is no question a higher cigarette tax will improve health outcomes for thousands of state residents.

The financial arguments are equally convincing. Any downturn in smoking will cut into the associated costs: $532 million a year spent on Medicaid patients with tobacco-related illnesses and $2.13 billion in overall annual costs for state consumers.

At the same time, conservative estimates put new tax collections at $283 million in the first year. That first-year impact — before smoking rates start to fall — is projected to be $2.1 million for Missouri Western State University, nearly $3 million for Northwest Missouri State University and around $2 million for the St. Joseph School District.

Every college and school district would benefit to the proportion they receive state funding now.

Opponents want voters to believe the state cannot be trusted to use the new tax proceeds as promised. They assert this despite the fact the proposition includes unprecedented safeguards.

The law requires all money from the higher tax collections to be treated as new funding and forbids it to be used to replace existing dollars spent on education. An annual audit is required.

Missouri voters should do the prudent thing and approve Proposition B.

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Welcome to the discussion.

4 comments:

  • jjfamilydog posted at 5:49 am on Sun, Oct 21, 2012.

    jjfamilydog Posts: 10

    My thoughts on this subject; I quit smoking in 78 but no matter, a sin tax is a sin in it's self..

     
  • 64503 posted at 6:24 pm on Tue, Oct 23, 2012.

    64503 Posts: 484

    NOTE NO NO on this November 6th. This is nothing more then a form of sin tax and the last time I checked I did not have to answer to the supporters of Prop B and or the state of Missouri in the form of a sin tax. I only have to answer to one for my sins and it sure is not these people. Let's see we just passed a bond issue for the district to build 2 new schools and now it is going to cost the tax payers more because of the infrastructure at these locations. Levy issue was just passed a few years ago for the schools and now more? This is nothing but a bunch of do gooders wanting to poke their noses into everyone's that uses a tobacco product and make them pay for something that we all should be paying for our schools not just the tobacco users. And lets not forget this tax increase would be 760% which is about 13 dollars a carton of cigarettes. Listen to that 13 dollars a carton on top of the Obama admins 10 dollars a carton 4 years ago for the education of people to the health risk and for medical expenses for people who did not have health insurance. And this tax on top of a sewer increase, a electric increase, a water increase, food cost rising, fuel cost through the roof and people not having jobs in a horrible economy. And now let's not forget to add in the city and county wants a new tax off of your purchases off the internet and for things you buy out of state as well. CAN PEOPLE TELL THEM NO!!!!!. This is also another form of government intrusion into people life's. I think these people need to get a life and mind their own business. Our votes will be NO NO NO

     
  • 64503 posted at 6:31 pm on Tue, Oct 23, 2012.

    64503 Posts: 484

    Another thing we all know what the health risk is associated with smoking and or using a tobacco product and it is our business not the people behind this prop B. Do you all not think it is bad for your health to drink alcohol, to eat unhealthy, to drink to much pop, heck it could be unhealthy to simply walk across the street you never know when you could be hit by a car and killed. Nothing we put int our body's is a 100% completely healthy for us. If people only knew what kind of preservatives were put into their food at the food manufacturing plant they would simply freak out. People get cancers everyday of the week who do not smoke and people die everyday and never smoked we all got to go someday and somehow.

     
  • mo-lib posted at 9:40 am on Thu, Oct 25, 2012.

    mo-lib Posts: 13

    Just raise the tax on anything the crooked Bladley family owns, it won't hurt anything, very few reads or watches their crap anyway

     

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