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On Prop B: "Desperately" Needed Funds Would Impact "Bottom Dollar"

Larry Clark, owner of Roll'n Tobacco, stands behind Prop B. Photo Credit: Shane Franklin
Larry Clark, owner of Roll'n Tobacco, stands behind Prop B. Photo Credit: Shane Franklin

The tax increase of 73-cents per pack, coupled with an increase of 25% on roll-your-own tobacco, would have brought in an estimated $280-420 million to a special Health and Education Trust Fund, according to language on the ballot. This fund would have been used to put a dent in the funding deficit for public education in the state.

Brent Ghan is the spokesman for the Missouri School Board Association. He says the Association is disappointed in the results, especially because the results were so narrow. He says now that the people have spoken, Missouri schools will have to move forward to find a new way to provide funding for education.

 “We desperately need that state revenue. We’re more than 300 million underfunded compared to where we should be for our foundation formula.”

That’s the formula that Missouri uses to distribute money to the various school districts around the state.

 “Prop B money certainly wouldn’t have solved that problem completely, but it would have been very helpful to school districts throughout the state.”

Larry Clark is the owner of Roll’n Tobacco in Springfield. He says that even though proponents talked about safe guards to ensure the money found its way into Missouri schools, he still had his doubts. He says less people would be buying Missouri cigarettes, which would hurt not only his business, but also Missouri’s economy.

“I think really its better for Missouri as a whole that it didn’t [pass], because I think we would have lost revenue total, bottom line, by other states coming across to buy cigarettes. Yea, they would have gotten more per unit, but I think they would have gotten less bottom dollar.”

This is the third time in the last ten years that Missourians have voted against increasing taxes on tobacco.

For KSMU News, I’m Shane Franklin.