Three package of Marlboro cigarettes, purchase on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, at dust Cheap, a discount retailer in West Alton, price $18.16, including sales tax. The very same brand of cigarettes, sold the same day in ~ a MotoMart in Godfrey, cost $26.89, after a $2.40 discount. (Post-Dispatch photograph illustration)


The state imposes a 17-cent tax on a load of cigarettes — the shortest in the nation — simply a fraction of the $2.98 rate charged throughout the Mississippi river in Illinois.

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Missouri’s rate most likely won’t change any time soon. Voter in 2016 rejected competing ballot inquiries that would have raised the tobacco tax. And the two peak contenders for branch — Gov. Mike Parson and also Auditor Nicole Galloway — don’t appear thrilled come endorse a tax hike in the middle of an choice year.


A spokesman for Parson decreased to comment on whether the Republican governor would earlier an boost to the tobacco tax.


Parson walk say so late last year he would certainly not push for a tobacco taxes hike or a tax on vapor commodities as part of an initiative to deter youth vaping.


Because that the state’s Hancock Amendment, any type of tax increase would call for voter approval. Parson said gaining the worry on the ballot most likely would need a cooperation effort between tobacco companies and lawmakers.


“I would say someday, down the road, friend will view the industry and the legislative come up with some type of an covenant on how we’re walking to tackle this issue,” Parson claimed last year.


Parson in 2018 gave a full-throated endorsement for increasing Missouri’s gasoline tax by 10 cent over four years in order to pay for roadway improvements.


“Unlike branch Parson, who campaigned for a failed initiative to increase taxes in 2018, Auditor Galloway has never suggest a brand-new tax increase,” Eric Slusher, Galloway project spokesman, said in an email.


“She’s not proposing any new tax increases to pay for the agenda she would market as Governor,” he said. “As friend know, an increase in the tobacco taxes would require a statewide poll of the people.”


While Slusher stated Galloway wouldn’t propose a taxes increase, he i will not ~ say whether Galloway would assistance a concern if it were to show up on the ballot.


On Friday, three packs the Marlboro reds at dust Cheap, a discount retailer in West Alton, price $18.16 ~ tax.


Across the river, in ~ a MotoMart in Godfrey, 3 packs of same brand the cigarettes price $26.89 after ~ tax and also a $2.40 discount because that buying three packs at once.


State Rep. Greg Sharpe, R-Ewing, sponsored regulation this past legislative session the would enable counties come raise tobacco taxes.


“We border Iowa and Illinois, for this reason we have actually quite a little of website traffic from those human being from those states buying cigarettes,” Sharpe said. “I just think every the counties should be able to do that on your own.”


Sharpe’s proposal died at the end of this year’s abbreviated legislature session without receiving a committee hearing.


He claimed he spoke to Steven Carroll, a lobbyist for tobacco company XCaliber International, that opposed enabling counties to boost tax rates.


“He simply wanted it to be uniform throughout all the counties, and also I agreed through him top top that,” Sharpe said.


Ronald Leone, lobbyist because that the Missouri Petroleum Marketers and also Convenience store Association, said his members wouldn’t be opposed to elevating the state’s tobacco tax, however that backers would need to not “get greedy” in stimulate to win the support of voters.


Leone said, “If we increased it, we don’t want to go so high that us dissuade consumer from higher tax border states” native driving to buy tobacco assets in Missouri.


In the critical fiscal year, Missouri’s tobacco tax raised $96.8 million, follow to the department of Revenue.


The state funneled the money to the institution Fund, the wellness Initiatives Fund and also the fair Share Fund, which additionally aids schools.


As fewer people smoke, tobacco taxes collections in Missouri room on a long-term downward trend, follow to the tax Foundation, which advocates versus raising tobacco count in order to salary for important policy priorities.


According to the tax Foundation, Missouri collected an ext than $300 million annually from a 9-cent-per-pack tax in the at an early stage 1970s. That has actually steadily declined. The state there is no collected much more than $100 million a year because fiscal year 2017, according to the department of Revenue.


But, after says raise tobacco taxes, they perform experience a temporary increase in collections, data show.


Illinois last year elevated its tobacco taxes to $2.98 per pack from $1.98 per pack. It also slapped a taxation on vapor products, other Missouri has actually not done.


All told, Illinois collected more than $859 million in tobacco and vapor taxes for the fiscal year that finished in June, contrasted with $768 million the previous year.


With about twice the populace as Missouri, Illinois collected about $67 in tobacco and vapor taxes because that every resident living there.


While Missouri tobacco taxation collections are directed toward education and also health initiatives, Illinois supplies its collections to fund general revenue, tax compliance and administration, education, health care provider relief and long-term care provider relief, follow to the Illinois department of Revenue.


Last year, because that the first time in at least 5 fiscal years, the state directed tobacco money come its Capital improvement Fund — an ext than $255 million worth of taxes money.


“The Illinois room of Revenue’s office of Criminal Investigation proactively investigates tobacco trafficking into Illinois,” claimed Sam Salustro, spokesman because that the department. “Possession of simply 10 non-Illinois-stamped cartons that cigarettes throughout the Illinois border might constitute a criminal misdemeanor and much more than 25 cartons have the right to be charged together a felony offense. Any type of violation deserve to incur far-reaching civil penalties together well.”


Meanwhile, one tobacco company, Cheyenne International, has actually given much more than $116,500 come Missouri candidates this year, follow to the state ethics commission.


The biggest recipient has been the Uniting Missouri PAC, which support Parson. It embraced a $50,000 contribution from Cheyenne ~ above Aug. 17.


The company gave much more than $101,000 critical year, documents show, with Galloway’s campaign committee agree $1,500 in July.


Other huge contributions this year included $15,000 to the home Republican project Committee and also $10,000 to the Missouri Senate campaign Committee, which supports Republican Senate candidates, in July.


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The danger came two days after the Post-Dispatch informed the state about a data hazard that left fragile 100,000 Social security numbers.