Missouri voters Tuesday rejected a proposal to raise the state's tobacco tax, which is the lowest in the nation.
With 95 percent of votes counted statewide, Proposition B fell short with 51 percent voting against the tax hike. The proposal called for an increase in the tax from 17 cents to 90 cents per pack, starting in January.
This is the third time that Missouri voters have declined to increase the tobacco tax.
In 2002 and 2006, the nation's biggest tobacco companies spent millions to oppose any increase, and those propositions failed. This time Big Tobacco sat out the campaign because Proposition B closed a loophole that put those companies at a pricing disadvantage with off-brand companies.
Those fighting against the higher tax were led by convenience store owners who feared losing business to bordering states. The national average is $1.49 per pack; Kansas' tax is 79 cents per pack.
The new tax money was aimed at K-12 public schools, higher education and tobacco use prevention efforts.
Supporters this year mounted an aggressive campaign, and early polls had suggested Missouri voters were supportive of this tax increase. It passed in urban areas but failed by big margins in more rural parts of the state.
In the final week of the campaign, some opponents had warned that the initiative couldn't bind future Missouri lawmakers, and they said there was no guarantee the money would be spent as promised on education and prevention.
A plan to give St. Louis direct control over its Police Department passed 65 percent to 35 percent. Although the vote does not directly affect Kansas City, it means that Kansas City will be the only city in the country with state control over its police department.
Passage of Proposition A returns oversight of the police department to the St. Louis government, ending a 150-year-old system in which the St. Louis department was funded by the city but run by a state-appointed board.
Kansas City's Police Department has been run by a state-appointed board since 1939, as a reaction to Pendergast-era corruption. Kansas City is now likely to debate whether to return to local control.
A plan to amend Missouri's constitution to change the nonpartisan selection of Supreme Court and appeals court judges failed 76 percent to 24 percent.
Amendment 3 would have given the governor more control over the selection of Missouri judges. Supporters say they will now push for the election of all Missouri judges.
Proposition E passed 62 percent to 38 percent. It requires the governor to seek legislative or voter approval before establishing a health insurance exchange.
Under the federal health care law, if a state declines to start a health insurance exchange, the federal government has said it will step in and do it.