Minn. lawmaker proposes $1.60 tax hike on cigarettes - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Minn. lawmaker proposes $1.60 tax hike on cigarettes

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - An influential Minnesota House Democrat wants to more than double the state's cigarette tax.

Rep. Ann Lenczewski of Bloomington says Thursday that she's more motivated by public health concerns than by the tax money that would be raised. She cites 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. Gov. 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. Critics say it would hurt business for tobacco wholesalers and mom and pop retailers.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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