JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Two proposals to raise taxes on cigarettes in Missouri have been filed in the State House. Missouri currently has the lowest cigarette tax in the nation at 17 cents a pack.
One bill would raise the tax by 12 cents a pack, while the other would raise it by a dollar per pack.
Republican House Speaker Steven Tilley remains opposed to raising taxes on anything, cigarettes included, but says he won't block either bill.
"They'll be referred just like any other bill," says Tilley. "That's something I pretty much told everybody that we're going to do a little different than what we've done in the past, and not bottle everything up in the Speaker's office and kill it before it gets an opportunity."
Both bills are sponsored by Democrat Mary Still of Columbia. She says the state could collect more than half a billion dollars a year in revenue if it raises the cigarette tax by a dollar a pack.
The state constitution requires a tax hike of that size to be decided by Missouri voters. But the head budget writer in the Missouri Senate voiced support for a statewide vote in a recent op-ed piece. Missouri voters have rejected two attempts in the past decade to raise cigarette taxes.