KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Missouri voters have rejected a measure that would have sharply increased the state’s lowest-in-the-nation tobacco tax.

Tuesday’s vote is the third time in a decade voters have rejected an effort to boost the tax from its current 17 cents per pack. Opponents of the increase say the state would have lost millions in dollars in tax revenue from people who cross state lines to buy cheaper smokes.

Supporters say the tax would have brought in $283 million to $423 million in new revenues that would have been earmarked for higher education, K-12 schools and smoking cessation programs. Among the measure’s biggest backers was the American Cancer Society, which also promoted the tax as a deterrent to young people who would be less likely to buy higher-priced cigarettes.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)



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