We have been doing a series focusing on the four statewide ballot issues that all voters will see on November 6, 2012. We have written extensively on Proposition A which returns local control of the St Louis City Police Department to the citizens of St Louis City because in the St Louis area particularly there has been a lot of misinformation about the proposition. Today we cover what I believe is the most egregious issue of them all, Proposition B – Tobacco Tax.
Proposition B raises the basic tobacco tax and adds additional taxes on products resulting in a 760% increase in taxes. I don’t smoke cigarettes. I really won’t be affected by the tobacco tax increase from a cost measure. I am however, highly offended by this attempt at social engineering through tax increase proposal!
The proponents of Proposition B truly hope you aren’t paying attention to the details. If you do, you will see they have cobbled together a “deal” that attempts to buy off certain segments and get votes. One sure fire way to tell how bad Proposition B actually is when you hear “it’s for the children” or something similar. In this case, it’s for education.
Proposition B pretends to fund education both elementary and secondary as well as higher education by providing some portion of the increased taxes to those areas. The part the proponents hope you don’t cognitively connect is the smoking cessation portion.
If one were to actually make a cognitive connection to the smoking cessation portion and the funding portion, one would logically and accurately come to the conclusion that someone is going to get shafted! If the smoking cessation portion actually works, then there will be less money that goes to education. Then why would education be supporting a tax increase if they will not see more money in the future due to reduced tobacco tax revenues?
Well aside from being greedy and showing no education improvement in the last 20 years despite receiving an approximate 312% increase in general revenue spending, they will be able to use any decrease in funding from the tobacco tax to lobby for increased general revenue funding or claim the legislature is cutting education funding. They’ve demonstrated in the past and currently that they are not beyond stretching the truth to get what they want.
But they may as well start complaining right now because the projected revenues will not materialize. In fact, using the proponents own numbers regarding the number of packs of cigarettes sold in Missouri there will be a projected $67 million shortfall. Not a good way to start.
This is at least the third time a tobacco tax has been proposed in recent years. Each time, the proponents have tried to pick a “winner” to link up with to try to convince people to vote for the tax increase. So far, the majority of people have recognized the fallacy contained in these proposals. Hopefully they will again by voting NO on Proposition B on November 6, 2012!