JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association (MPCA) has launched a campaign to stop Proposition B, a 73-cent increase on tobacco taxes that is up for a vote in November, reported KMBZ Radio.
Ron Leone, MPCA's director, said Prop B will hurt small stores. "It hurts a lot of small mom-and-pop shops that have been existence for years and have located near our higher-tax border states. Proposition's B outrageous and unfair 760% tax increase will take Missouri from the lowest tax in the nation to being at a disadvantage with four of our eight border states," Leone told the news outlet.
The state's current cigarette tax is 17 cents.
Supporters argue the tax would generate hundreds of millions for education and smoking cessation programs, said the report.
Backers of an increase in the Missouri cigarette tax have been traveling the state in a school bus promoting the benefits of Proposition B, added a report by KTTS Radio.
The same day Prop B backers came to Springfield, Mo., several gas stations around town could be seen showing opposition to Prop B on their signage, the report said.
The MPCA said in a statement that University of Missouri-Columbia economist Joseph Haslag recently conducted an analysis of Proposition B's "outrageous and unfair" 760% tax increase. He found that "despite what proponents say, Prop B negatively impacts all taxpayers and not just smokers."
"The price increase will have adverse effects on the state, county and municipal revenues that rely on cigarette purchases," reported Haslag. "Fiscal impacts will be widespread and felt by every political subdivision in the State of Missouri."
Haslag found Proposition B will decrease state, county, and municipal revenues by at least $67 million, said Leone. The decreases are found with reductions to the State School Money Fund, the Health Initiative Fund, the Fair Share Fund, state sales tax and local cigarette excise taxes.
"While proponents of Prop B travel the state on their bus tour, will they be stopping by schools to tell teachers and students to expect education funding to fall? Will they go to homes and inform families that essential services could see a decrease in revenue," said Leone. "Those who support Prop B say money will be go to education, but the only guarantee is that education and essential state and local services will lose money."
The MPCA is a trade association with more than 450 members that represents the majority of gas stations, convenience stores, petroleum marketers and retail suppliers located all across Missouri. A large portion of its membership consists of second- and third-generation family-owned and -operated small businesses.