JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education passed a resolution in support of Proposition B, the initiative to raise taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products that will appear on the November ballot.
The board passed the resolution at their meeting September 5 in Jefferson City. The resolution states:
The Coordinating Board for Higher Education supports passage of Proposition B, the November ballot initiative to raise taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco-related products. This initiative would increase funding for higher education by approximately $84 million annually. The CBHE further endorses provisions of the measure to devote 25% of the proceeds for higher education to prepare future health care workers--including doctors, dentists, pharmacists, nurses and others--for high-paying professions and to address the health care needs of the state. The CBHE believes this additional funding for higher education will make high quality postsecondary education more affordable for Missouri students, will improve economic development and will contribute to improved quality of life for many Missourians.
Board member Lowell Kruse, former CEO of Heartland Health in St. Joseph, said, "Raising the tax on cigarettes--which is the lowest in the country--fulfills two important goals: It will increase funding for education, which is in critically short supply, and it will improve health outcomes for Missourians."
The November ballot item would raise Missouri’s cigarette tax to 90 cents per pack, said a report by the Associated Press. The current 17-cent tax is the lowest nationally. The initiative also would raise taxes on other tobacco products.
The proposal is projected to generate between $283 million and $423 million annually; 50% of the money would go to public schools, 30% to higher education and 20% to efforts intended to prevent people from using tobacco or help them quit.