Nixon offers warm words for tax-increase ballot issues

Governor holds off on formal endorsement

Gov. Jay Nixon

Gov. Jay Nixon

By State Capitol Bureau Staff

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Jay Nixon offered encouraging words for some ballot-issue proposals that would seek Missouri voter approval for a cigarette tax increase for either education or transportation.

“The fact that you have leaders out there working to put in front of the public the opportunity in those areas is a good public policy piece,” Nixon said earlier this week during a news conference outside his mansion.

Nixon noted there are proposals to boost the cigarette tax. One would boost funding for transportation and another for early childhood health and education.

While offering support for initiating the ideas, Nixon held off from a formal endorsement.

“I think there are a lot of miles between now and who gathers all of the signatures,” Nixon said. “As for me putting my finger down on which one of those, I want to wait and see which ones get through the process.”

Last year, Missouri voters rejected a sales-tax increase for transportation. In the spring, an effort in the Senate for a smaller transportation tax hike won the governor’s support for continuing, but the idea died in the General Assembly.

A cigarette tax increase for education narrowly was defeated in 2012.