The Wed. October 10, 2012 edition of the Southeast Missourian carried a story entitled “Bus tour supporting tobacco tax increase rolls into Cape Girardeau”, after reading it, I wish the bus had just kept rolling.
The bus tour’s sponsor Show Me a Brighter Future , is sending a message that contains mistruths, distortions and contradicts itself. According to the Oct 10 , Southeast Missourian article:
“Misty Snodgrass, spokeswoman for Show-Me A Brighter Future, said the new tax revenue would mean significant funding for area colleges and schools, citing the organization’s own projections.
“The projections we have, based on average daily attendance, show that the Cape Girardeau School District would receive almost $618,000 per year in new funding,” Snodgrass said. “Jackson would receive about $717,000. Southeast Missouri State University would receive $4.3 million, and Three Rivers Community College would get $430,000. This is money that is long overdue to these institutions because of smokers who have diverted funds from education to pay for health care costs.”
Snodgrass cited projections of anywhere from $280 million to $435 million annually coming in from the tax, making the exact amount local institutions will get far from certain.
Snodgrass said Proposition B seeks to raise taxes on cigarettes sold in Missouri to 90 cents per pack from the current level of 17 cents. It also seeks a new tax for roll-your-own tobacco at 25 percent of the manufacturer’s invoice price and a rate of 15 percent for cigars and other tobacco products. Fifty percent of the money would go to public schools, 30 percent to higher education and 20 percent to smoking prevention and cessation programs.
“It’s time for smokers to contribute their fair share,” Snodgrass said. “The annual health care costs in Missouri that are the direct result of smoking comes to nearly $2.13 billion. Medicaid costs, funded by the taxpayers, comes to nearly $532 million. This modest tax increase, which will still leave Missouri in the bottom-third of nationwide cigarette taxes, is desperately needed in school districts around the state. With education funding being eaten up by rising Medicaid costs caused in large part by smokers,the right thing for voters to do is to approve Proposition B.”
Wow! It’s time for the smokers to “pay their fair share?”
In an article entitled “The cost of obesity in Missouri“, the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation states that:
“America’s Health Rankings places the direct medical cost of obesity to Missourians at $1.9 billion per year, or about $754 for each adult Missourian.
On average, that’s $450 per year per Missouri adult.
It’s also the second highest per-capita cost of any state in the nation–behind only West Virginia at $479 per year per adult.
With current projected rates of the increase in obesity, by 2018 obesity will cost Missourians $8.2 billion in direct medical costs every year–that’s $1824 per year for every adult in Missouri.
And those calculations don’t even include the indirect costs of the health problems resulting from obesity–everything missed days at work, lower productivity levels, people dropping out of the work force due to ill health, and many others–which add up to about the same amount again.
I don’t see Mrs. Snodgrass on a bus tour of Missouri touting a Twinky tax. Besides the money that Snodgrass is promising for area schools is based on cigarette sales.
NoMoTax.com , an organization opposing Proposition B states that if passed, Proposition B will be a 760% tax increase in Missouri and that
“Prop B increases government spending by hundreds of millions of dollars per year, could be used to expand welfare, & a leading economist predicts a decrease in tobacco sales alone will decrease state & local sales & other tax revenues by $67 million per year. The middle class will pay this tab forever — just like always.
- The proponents themselves predict that if Prop B passes, 157 million fewer packs of cigarettes will be sold in Missouri every year. Dr. Joseph Haslag, a leading Mizzou economist, calculates that this decrease in cigarette sales alone will translate into a $67 million per year reduction in sales and other tax revenue for state and local coffers. This $67 million per year loss in sales tax revenues does NOT take into account the tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue from a decrease in cross-border sales of gasoline, beer and other products which will not decrease other sales & road tax revenue streams, force small family businesses to close and force people to lose their jobs.”
The State of California has discovered that increasing their cigarette tax has led to budget shortfalls not increases. According to an article found on the California Watch. Org website:
“Fewer smokers is bad news for California’s budget. A major bond rating agency sounded an alarm this month, saying the state may have borrowed more than $4 billion against settlement money that might never materialize.
A little more than a decade ago, 46 state attorneys general reached a settlement with the four biggest tobacco companies. The companies agreed to pay an estimated $246 billion over a 25-year period to compensate states for tobacco-related health care costs. But there is one quirk: The settlement payments are not fixed, but linked to tobacco sales.”
Even for those who don’t smoke it is important to understand that the money Mrs. Snodgrass has promised for school funding will never materialize but the tax (like all taxes) will never end.