Mo. education board backs tobacco tax initiative

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The State Board of Education is backing a potential November ballot initiative asking Missouri voters to raise tobacco taxes to benefit schools.

The board voted Tuesday to support a plan that would raise Missouri’s lowest-in-the-nation cigarette tax from 17 cents per pack to 90 cents beginning in January.

The state auditor’s office estimates the initiative would generate between $283 million and $423 million annually. Fifty percent of the money would go to public school districts, 30 percent to higher education and 20 percent to efforts intended to prevent people from using tobacco or help them quit doing so.

The secretary of state’s office has not yet determined if supporters submitted enough petition signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot.

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