KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A measure that would have increased Missouri's lowest-in-the nation tobacco tax by 73 cents per pack failed Tuesday.
With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Proposition B had just 49 percent “Yes” votes with 51 percent voting no.
Supporters said increasing the tax would help curb smoking among young people and provide a much-needed funding boost for education. The state auditor's office estimates the initiative would have generated between $283 million and $423 million annually.
Opponents say the state's low tax encourages smokers from neighboring states to buy their cigarettes in Missouri, and passage would result in the loss of more than $67 million in sales tax revenue.
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Negotiations on Capitol Hill have yielded a modest budget agreement to ease automatic spending cuts and replace some of them with savings from future-year cuts.