Columbia Representative Proposes Cigarette Tax
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Columbia Representative Proposes Cigarette Tax

Date: January 27, 2011
By: Helena Kooi
State Capitol Bureau
Links: Gov. Nixon's budget proposals

A Columbia Representative wants cigarette smokers to pay an extra dollar a pack.
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Wrap: Despite Governor Nixon's call for no new taxes, Democratic Representative Mary Still introduced two bills in the House that aim to do just that.

She says the bills would bring much needed revenue to the state that is facing a half billion dollar budget shortfall.

Actuality:  STILL1.WAV
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Description: "It seems to me that it would be appropriate to ask smokers to begin to pay their own way and to view this as more or less a user tax."

Missouri's cigarette tax is the lowest in the nation.

The House's Repulican Speaker Steve Tilley says his party is opposed to any tax increase.

The bill has not yet been scheduled for a committee hearing.   

From the state capitol, I'm Helena Kooi.

A House Democrat is sponsoring two bills to raise Missouri's cigarette tax.
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Wrap: Representative Mary Still from Columbia says Missouri's cigarette tax falls twelve cents below any other state.

She says the low tax fails to discourage people from smoking.

She says cigarette smoking related diseases cost the state millions of dollars in Medicare coverage each year.

Actuality:  STILL2.WAV
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Description: "This year Missouri became the lowest cigarette tax state in the country. South Carolina raised their tax and that put us at the bottom."

Still says research shows higher cigarette taxes make it less likely for young people to begin smoking.

Many Republicans say they are opposed to any tax increase.

Reporting from Jefferson City, I'm Helena Kooi.

Missouri's House Speaker says he doesn't expect the House to welcome a Democrat's proposed increase in cigarette taxes.
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Wrap: Democratic Representative Mary Still is sponsoring two bills that would raise the price of a pack of cigarettes by a dollar.

Even though Missouri's cigarette tax is the lowest in the nation, House Speaker Tilley says higher taxes are the last thing Missourians need.

Actuality:  TILLEY5.WAV
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Description: "I'm comfortable with our party's position that in tough times with nine and a half percent unemployment, and I'm glad that the governor has joined me on this, that there will be no increases."

Tilley says Missouri lawmakers have struck down similar bills before.

He says he thinks they will do it again.

The bill has not been scheduled for a committee hearing.

From Jefferson City, I'm Helena Kooi.

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