SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Missouri voters this November will choose how much they pay for cigarettes. Proposition B asks voters to approve a 73-cent tax increase on a pack of cigarettes.
Supporters say it will help Missouri schools, but opponents--including convenience retailer Rapid Robert's Inc.--say low taxes help bring in revenue from out of state visitors, reported KSPR-TV.
Missouri's existing tax of 17 per pack ranks lowest in the nation, a big reason why Rapid Robert's officials say their stores moved in near the state line nearly 30 years ago.
They told the news outlet that more than 75% of business at those stores comes from Arkansas drivers; that state charges almost $1 more per pack of cigarettes.
Officials said a higher tax on cigarettes will affect sales on more than just tobacco--when people don't drive across state line, they won't buy their gasoline, chips or anything else they sell.
"Why drive up here the two hours when I can just stay in Arkansas," one consumer, who travels to Missouri to buy cigarettes for her mother, told KSPR. "You were saving money in Missouri, and that's the reason we came."
If Missouri voters approve the tax hike on cigarettes, smokers would pay a 90-cent tax per pack--still a quarter less than in Arkansas, said the report.
Springfield, Mo.-based Rapid Robert's operates 23 Conoco- or Phillips-branded Rapid Robert's convenience stores in Missouri and Arkansas.