JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – The owner of a southwest Missouri discount tobacco store has filed a lawsuit challenging a proposed constitutional amendment that would raise the state’s lowest-in-the-nation tobacco tax and create new fees for wholesalers of some cigarettes.
The suit filed Friday in Cole County Circuit Court claims the measure’s ballot title and fiscal notes approved by the Missouri secretary of state are insufficient and unfair.
The proposed amendment would raise the tobacco tax by 60 cents over four years, starting in 2017. It also would impose a fee of 67 cents per pack of cigarettes on wholesalers who sell off-brand smokes not covered under the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement between the state and four largest U.S. tobacco companies.
The additional revenues would go into a new Early Childhood Health trust fund.