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Cigarette Tax Increase On The Table In Missouri

Despite being rejected by voters last month, there’s a new proposal to raise Missouri’s cigarette tax.

It’s part of a bill prefiled in the Missouri Senate that would also raise the state’s sales tax by one-half percent while fixing the state income tax rate at a flat 4 percent.

The proposal would raise the cigarette tax by 26 cents, from its current 17 cents per pack to 43 cents per pack.  It’s sponsored by RepublicanSenator John Lamping of St. Louis County.

“(With the) net combination of the tax increases and the tax cut, there’ll be a net tax cut, obviously a very large tax cut, to taxpayers," Lamping said.

The proposal in its current form would earmark revenue raised from the 1/2% sales tax hike for MoDOT, to help pay for highway upgrades and other transportation infrastructure.  Lamping says the bill’s purpose is to jumpstart discussions on restructuring Missouri’s tax code.

“The initial reaction that people had is they looked at this as a cigarette tax bill, which that’s the least of all the things that it is," Lamping said.  "(Of) all the things that are gonna change the fastest, it’ll probably be that aspect of the bill.”

Lampingalso sponsored legislation earlier this year to raise Missouri's cigarette tax, but that bill went nowhere.  He says he expects other aspects of Missouri’s tax code to eventually be discussed and possibly included in a larger overall bill.  The 2013 regular legislative session begins January 9th.

Marshall Griffin is the Statehouse reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.
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