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Cigarette Tax Increase Proposed In Minnesota

January 23, 2013, 5:11 PM

Cigarette Tax Increase Proposed In Minnesota
LUVERNE, MN -

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is pushing sweeping changes to his state's budget.  His plan includes a sales tax overhaul, higher income taxes for the wealthiest Minnesotans and a higher cigarette tax.

Right now, you're hard pressed to find a pack of cigarettes for less than $4.50 in Minnesota.  Right now, $1.23 of that goes to the state.  If the governor gets his way, that tax would increase 94 cents to $2.17 per pack.

"I think there's a lot of different ways they can get money besides charging smokers, you know.  But it's always been that way," Zach Galbraith said.

If approved, the increase would almost equal a $10 per carton increase for the state cigarette tax.  Some smokers say the thought of that is almost enough to get them to quit.

"I mean, I smoke a pack a day usually.  If I'm not working, I don't smoke as much, but yeah, probably think about quitting," Galbraith said.

Galbraith has been smoking since he was 18, other than quitting, he says some smokers might choose to stock up or buy their cigarettes in other states.  He understands the need for state funding but wishes they could look at other plans.

"Just being a smoker alone, you're an outcast everywhere, there's less and less," Galbraith said.

As you'd imagine, opinions on the idea are split, not on party line, but by smokers and non-smokers.  Those who don't smoke and didn't want to go on camera say they don't mind the proposal.

In comparison, South Dakota's current state tax on cigarettes is $1.53 per pack.  Iowa is cheaper at $1.36.  North Dakota is the cheapest in the region at just 44 cents per pack.

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