Missouri Tobacco Tax Hike Proposal Survives Court Challenge

Tobacco Tax

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A judge has ruled that a ballot measure to raise cigarette taxes to benefit early childhood programs can stay on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The ruling Tuesday by Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem is a follow-up to an appeals court decision earlier this summer that changed the official summary of the tobacco tax measure.

Opponents then argued that petition signatures gathered under the original summary should be tossed out, which would have knocked the measure off the ballot.

But Beetem ruled that those signatures were valid and Secretary of State Jason Kander followed the law when he put the measure on the ballot.

Beetem says other constitutional questions raised by opponents should be addressed after the election.

Opponents of the ballot measure plan to appeal Tuesday’s ruling.