Smokers brace for massive cigarette tax

2:56 PM, May 18, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - Minnesota smokers are bracing for a massive price increase.

"It's getting crazy," said smoker John Stenberg. "They're already so expensive."

With the House, the Senate, and the Governor agreeing on a $1.60 tax increase on cigarettes there is very little smokers and owners of tobacco shops can do.

"It will affect our bottom line," says Anit Bhatia, owner of Lyndale Tobacco in Minneapolis. "I was crossing my fingers and hoping this wouldn't happen."

If the plan goes through, a pack of cigarettes would go for around seven dollars and even higher for certain brands. The tax hike of $2.83 per pack would make Minnesota's rate one of the highest in the country.

"Nothing we can do but follow the Law," says Bhatia. "It's too early to tell what will happen."

Money generated through the increase will move into the state's general fund.  A separate "stock floor" tax on tobacco is aiding the cost the Vikings stadium.

The increase would go in effect on July 1.


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