Proposal Would More Than Double Minnesota Cigarette Tax

Would raise levy from $1.23 to $2.84 per pack in Land of 10,000 Lakes

Ann Lenczewski

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- An Minnesota House Democrat wants to more than double the state's cigarette tax, according to a report by the Associated Press.

State Representative Ann Lenczewski (DFL) said Thursday that she is more motivated by public health concerns than by the tax money that the increase would raise. She cited studies showing higher-priced cigarettes encourages smokers to quit and discourages potential smokers from starting.

The proposal would raise the state's tax per pack by $1.60, from $1.23 to $2.83.

Governor Mark Dayton has proposed a smaller increase of 94 cents per pack.

Lenczewski's proposal is projected to raise an additional $440 million in tax dollars in the next two years.

The House Taxes Committee reviewed the proposal but did not vote on it, said the report. Critics say it would hurt business for tobacco wholesalers and mom-and-pop retailers, the news agency said.

Click here to view the text of the legislation.