September 27, 2012 (Jefferson, MO) — Proposition B, a proposed 150% tax increase on cigars and pipe tobacco, in addition to a 760% tax increase on cigarettes, is causing quite a stir in Missouri. Politicians claim the tax hike will help fund education and health care, while small business owners are criticizing the open attack on their businesses.

Opponents of the initiative, including the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR), point out that none of the tax revenue raised by Prop. B is required to be spent on tobacco-related illnesses, but rather that a board of bureaucrats directs where the money is spent, even going so far as being able to fund their own special-interest groups.

“We elected these men and women to protect our businesses, not tax them into the ground. One group of business shouldn’t be continually attacked simply because some bureaucrats need to fund a project or initiative. All Missourians should pay their fair share in taxes, rather than one group being endlessly attacked,” said Curt Diebel, owner of Diebel’s Sportsmens Gallery in Kansas City, MO.

The IPCPR also fears that this tax increase will result in “border bleed,” the movement of tobacco sales to neighboring states with lower taxes, ultimately harming local businesses and forfeiting the tax revenue that the Missouri state government sought in the first place.

“Most small tobacconists throughout this country are mom-and-pop operations dotting the American Main Street. In an already tumultuous economy, the government should be focused on preserving jobs, not destroying them,” said Bill Spann, CEO of the IPCPR.

The initiative will be up for vote in November.

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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.