Cigarette taxes spike today

Published 12:04 pm Monday, July 1, 2013

Cigarettes are much more costly in Minnesota today.

New tobacco taxes kicked in Monday. That includes a $1.60 hike in the per-pack tax on cigarettes.

The extra charge brings the total tax to $2.83 per pack. It’s part of a state budget fix, but has also been hailed by public health experts as a way to discourage smoking. Many opposed to it say it’s a regressive tax, as it disproportionately affects lower income Minnesotans, and say it’s unfair to make smokers pay for state budget shortfalls.

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Minnesota will have the nation’s sixth highest tax on cigarettes. New York is tops at $4.35.

As part of the tax conversion, retailers must take inventory on packs already in stores. By mid-July they must report their counts to the state and pay a one-time floor stock tax by early September. Floor tax proceeds have been earmarked to pay debt on the new Minnesota Vikings stadium.