UM leaders put wallets behind tobacco tax hike

Oct 17, 2012

A November ballot measure to significantly raise Missouri's tobacco tax to increase public education spending is drawing financial support from leaders of the state's flagship university.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that the campaign donors in favor of the Proposition B ballot measure include university curator Warren Erdman, who contributed $5,000. His company, Kansas City Southern Railway Co., gave $25,000.

Other contributors include university system President Tim Wolfe, with a $1,000 donation; and chancellors from three of the system's four campuses.

The ballot item would raise Missouri's cigarette tax to 90 cents a pack. The current 17-cent tax is the lowest nationally.

The proposal could generate between $283 million and $423 million annually, with 80 percent of the additional revenue going toward education.