Nixon seeks to stay out of Mo. tobacco tax debate

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Gov. Jay Nixon says he does not intend to get involved in a campaign to raise Missouri’s lowest-in-nation cigarette tax.

Supporters are expected to turn in petition signatures this week for a November ballot initiative asking voters to raise the Missouri’s tax on a pack of cigarettes to 90 cents from the current 17 cents.

Nixon said Monday his focus is “to hold the line on taxes” but Missouri voters are entitled to voice their own opinions at the ballot box.

The state auditor estimates the initiative would generate between $283 million and $423 million annually for Missouri’s budget.

Asked if he would encourage voters to support the initiative, Nixon replied that he does not intend to get involved in any significant way.

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