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Rep. Chris Kelly proposes increasing state cigarette tax

Thursday, April 21, 2011 | 4:27 p.m. CDT; updated 9:00 p.m. CST, Tuesday, January 24, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY — Rep. Chris Kelly wants to ask voters to raise the state cigarette tax by 81 cents a pack.

Kelly, D-Columbia, outlined his plan Thursday to a House committee. He's proposing a future statewide vote on whether to raise Missouri's current 17-cent tax — the lowest in the nation — to 98 cents per pack.

Kelly said the increase could generate $425 million in state revenue, discourage people from smoking and bring down state health care costs.

Officials from Missouri's convenience store industry said raising the tax would hurt their business. They said Missouri's low cigarette tax rate gives the state an advantage over nearby states with higher rates.

Voters rejected tobacco tax proposals in 2002 and 2006.


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