Proposal Would Increase Tobacco Tax [AUDIO]
ST. CLOUD — Smoking in Minnesota could soon become an expensive addiction.
Governor Mark Dayton announced his revised budget proposal, which includes a cigarette tax increase of .94 cents per pack.
The tax would lead to an additional $370 million in revenue for the next two years.
Let’s Talk Tobacco is a non-profit organization in Waite Park. Spokeswoman, Lisa – who declined to give her last name – says taxing tobacco use provides reliable revenue because of people’s addiction.
Tobacco taxes have traditionally been met with bipartisan approval. Lisa says taxing cigarettes is always an easy target for lawmakers.
Taxes are not the only campaign aimed at reduced smoking habits in Minnesota.
St. Cloud State University has taken a public stance on the issue. Last year the university limited smoking to designated areas on campus. The school became a complete tobacco-free campus in August.
Organizations like Let’s Talk Tobacco can provide resources for smokers and those looking to quit, alike. Lisa says the industry should not be given such a bad label.
A few lawmakers have suggested raising the cigarette tax by $1.60 per pack. If the proposed tax increase would be passed, cigarette costs in Minnesota would be higher than each neighboring state.
Currently, Minnesota’s tobacco tax is below the national average.