HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The $26.1 million campaign to decide whether to raise Montana’s tobacco taxes to pay for the state’s Medicaid expansion program was the state’s most expensive ballot measure in at least 16 years.
Data from the National Institute on Money in Politics also shows the measure defeated earlier this month was the nation’s most expensive tobacco tax measure outside of California over that same period.
The hefty price tag was driven by one tobacco company that spent heavily in Montana and in South Dakota to successfully defeat tobacco tax ballot measures.
The Montana proposal would have raised cigarette taxes $2 a pack and taxed vaping products for the first time.
The top three most expensive tobacco tax ballot measures were in California in 2016, 2006 and 2012.