Debate on Amendment 3: Tobacco Tax Incease

Politics

Smokers are sitting at the edge of their seats waiting to hear if the Nov. 7 vote will increase taxes on tobacco by 470 percent. Amendment 3 is on the election ballot this year, which, if passed, would increase tobacco taxes. This tax increase would be used for education and health care.

The approved initiative petition for the proposed amendment states, “on and after January 1, 2007, a tax equal to four cents per cigarette and twenty percent of the manufacturer’s invoice price before discounts and deals on other tobacco products shall be levied and imposed upon the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products.”

Many tobacco users, manufactures and sellers have retaliated against the proposal by displaying signs that urge citizens to, “Vote ‘no’ on Amendment 3,” saying, “Enough is enough,” and to, “Vote ‘no’ on tax abuse.”

The Committee for a Healthy Future is in favor of Amendment 3. This organization claims it is, “a citizen initiative backed by those who care about the health of all Missourians, including health care professionals, physicians, and health care organizations.”

The Committee’s website states, “It is important to get serious about the state’s health and future.”

Missouri currently has one of the highest smoking rates in America, but its tobacco tax is the second lowest. Missouri ranks last in funding for smoking prevention programs.” The Committee’s solution to these problems is the Constitutional Amendment 3 on November 2006 ballot.

The initiative petition for this amendment states it is “for the sole and exclusive purpose of providing additional moneys to be expended and used only for tobacco use education, prevention and cessation programs and initiatives and the improvement of health care access and treatment in both urban and rural areas of the state.”

Sara Bovard, a sophomore nursing major, said she believes the amendment is a good thing and has a good cause behind it.

“I think it is a good idea to start taxing people because it will get some people to quit smoking,” Bovard said. “Some people will say, ‘Hey, I don’t want to pay more just to kill myself,’ and they will quit.”

Bovard doesn’t agree with the statement “tax abuse” because the moneys acquired will go towards prevention and health care.

Junior Heather Porter, an occasional smoker, said she will probably vote for Amendment 3 but doesn’t think it will pass. Porter’s assumption comes from the lack of signs and visual support for the amendment.

Students are advised to look into all matters before voting Nov. 7.

FYI: Amendment 3 is not limited to cigarettes
Other tobacco products include:
– cigarette papers
– cigars
– smokeless tobacco
– chewing tobacco
– smoking tobacco
– clove cigarettes
– other products with tobacco substitute containing nicotine

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