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Missouri tobacco tax foes cite cost to cities, counties

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 | 7:09 a.m. CDT; updated 11:48 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 3, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY — Opponents of a tobacco tax initiative on the Missouri ballot say local governments could lose money if the measure passes.

The proposal would raise the state cigarette tax from 17 cents to 90 cents per pack and also increase taxes on other tobacco products.

An estimate from the state auditor's office said it would generate between $283 million and $423 million annually for the state. It says the effect on local governments is unknown.

But an association of convenience stores hired an economist at MU to analyze the issue. That study assumes a higher state tax will decrease sales of tobacco products, thus decreasing sales tax revenues for cities and counties.

The Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association launched a campaign Tuesday against the initiative.

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