Tobacco tax, Obamacare top Missouri ballot issues - KCTV5

Tobacco tax, Obamacare top Missouri ballot issues

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Missouri voters made decisions about sharply increasing the state's tobacco tax, changing the way judges are picked and preventing state officials from setting up as part of Obamacare a health exchange without the public's support.

Those were among the top ballot issues voters decided on Tuesday. Another ballot issue asked voters to decide whether the city of St. Louis should control its police department by doing away with a five-person board created in 1861. Supporters in Kansas City hope if the measure passes that it will lead to changes in the way the Kansas City Police Department is operated.

Voters approved Proposition A, allowing St. Louis to oversee its own police. With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, 64 percent voted in favor and 36 percent voted against.

If finalized in St. Louis, the Kansas City Police Department would be the only police department in Missouri and one of the few in the entire country not controlled entirely by local officials.

Voters rejected Amendment 3. With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, 76 percent voted against and 24 percent voted in favor.

Amendment 3 would have given governors the authority to appoint every member of the panel which chooses state Supreme Court Judges. It's a system Missouri once had in place in the early 1800s. Currently, a panel of lawyers, laypeople and one Supreme Court Justice vets and recommends three candidates before the governor chooses one.

Voters approved Proposition E. With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, 62 percent voted in favor and 38 percent voted against.

Proposition E prohibits the establishment of any healthcare exchange without a vote by the Legislature or the people, despite federal law that requires states to create such exchanges by 2014 or have the federal government create one for them. Since voters approved Prop E, the public or the Missouri General Assembly would first have to approve such a system under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Missouri voters rejected Proposition B, the proposal to raise the state's tobacco tax. With 99 percent of the votes counted statewide, Prop B fell short with 51 percent voting against and 49 percent voting for.

Tobacco tax hikes were rejected in 2002 and 2006, but this year's initiative earmarks proceeds from the increase for education and smoking cessation programs.

On the Kansas side, voters chose to allow their lawmakers to change property taxes associated with boats. With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, 54 percent voted in favor of the amendment, while 46 percent voted against it.

Prior to Tuesday, supporters of the amendment that would give legislators authority to reduce property taxes on boats said the ballot wording is confusing. The question asked voters to add the words "and watercraft" to the constitution regarding the levying of property taxes.

The change removed the classification of boats as "other" property and being taxed at 30 percent of their value multiplied by the county's property tax levy. Proponents said the change would encourage more Kansas residents to own and register their boats in the state by making tax rates comparable to surrounding states.

Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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LOCAL STORIES:Akin, McCaskill campaign for undecided votersKS ballot initiative asks voters about changing boat tax Missouri voters choice on St. Louis Police Department could affect Kansas City Looking More>>

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