ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Two Republican lawmakers want Minnesota’s cigarette tax to more than double as a way to deter smoking and to repay Minnesota schools for aid delays during recent state budgets.

Sen. Carla Nelson and Rep. Mike Benson, both of Rochester, outlined the bill Monday that they will formally introduce later in the week. Nelson acknowledged it cuts against Republican anti-tax orthodoxy but says she hopes her party and the public will embrace it because of the intended purpose.

Minnesota’s current $1.23 cent per-pack tax currently ranks among the middle of all states. The bill would boost that to $2.52. By supporters’ estimates, a higher tax would generate $320 million in the next two years.

Nelson says the bill would make it less likely that price-conscious young people would start smoking.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (22)
  1. Bill Clintons Cigar says:

    Ummm….the last study I read stated that nearly all smokers are poor. So this is just another bs tax on the poor.

    1. Haywood Jablome says:

      Thank you! I came on here to post exactly that. Don’t be fooled, people! This is a ploy for the GOP to win some points with the more moderate right-wingers. “See, we support some tax hikes too! We’re not just the party of No.” Bill Clinton’s Cigar said it best. This plan doesn’t help anyone. Oh sure, the GOP hides behind the “if we make it so expensive, people wont buy it” B.S. It’s all part of the GOP’s plan to keep the uneducated, indigent majority in their places. At least taxes won’t be raised on those few millionaires.

    2. Tom says:

      @ Bill Clintons Cigar

      Is the GOP going too call it a tax increase? Or are they going to borrow a term from T-Paws playbook and call it a “health impact fee”? I higher tax is not get a smoker to quit smoking! Just like if they would think that raising the tax on alcohol would stop people from drinking!

  2. Bill Janklows Ghost says:

    Fat people have many more issues than the remaining smokers. I say tax all fat people by the pound!

    1. so true, it's blinding says:

      Amen, Bill!!!!

      When is the last time I went to the doctor, for anything? Over 50 years, twice, for minor BS. When is the last time a big ol’ fatty went to the doctor for their problems? Good God, the numbers are so high they’re almost uncountable!
      Obese fatty’s health problems (both physical and mental) cost us more than anything else. So yeah, taxed by the pound works perfectly for me too…

  3. aeiou says:

    Dream on. This is another way to try and control people who will sacrifice something else just to smoke. And how does this create jobs?

    While you Republicans are amendment happy, make another amendment to make smoking unconstitutional.

  4. Randy says:

    I’m thinking it will be healthier for most of us if we DOUBLE the tax on Millionaires !!

  5. memyselfandi says:

    so when they are done picking on the smokers, whos next?

  6. Little Tin God says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the GOP the party of no taxes? While I applaud their goal, I seriously doubt that the price of a pack of cigarettes will stop anyone from smoking. I was a smoker for 35 years (now in year 14 of being off of them) and when I was buying, the high price (at the time) didn’t stop me from smoking one-and-a-half to two packs a day. Not sure what cigarettes go for today since I don’t pay any attention, but I’m fairly sure that if someone wants to smoke, they’ll be willing to pay whatever price may be set.

  7. Desperate says:

    Republicans have to get money to repay previous loans from education. Anything is better than taxing the rich.

  8. MCullenNE says:

    This is getting way out of hand. You either tax all vises the same or none at all. This is definitely intended to affect the poor more so than upper middle class if there is one anymore. Hmmmm why not triple cigar smokers tax, over eaters, people that don’e exercise…. the list goes on and on.

  9. Rico Suave says:

    Why not double the tax on baby formula or bottled water? Why pick one already overtaxed group? Because they’re an easy target? The evil smokers – yeah, let’s tax em to death. How about alcohol? That kills as many people if not more. Plus it breaks up families and destroys lives. These so-called republicans should get out of the party and join the dems. Constantly trying to tax more so they can spend more. Never cutting, always spending.

  10. Jimmy says:

    That would give the government more money and the size of government would grow and the problems will get bigger.

    The problem is too much spending and too much government.

    I suggest throwing those RINOs out of the party.

  11. Redneck Purist says:

    Get a rope.

  12. Shane says:

    Deter smoking, but collect enough money to pay back the debt to the schools? First why not keep school funding levels at certain level, like from 5 years ago and then you will not have to pay back the schools for money that was a raise in their budget in the first place. That is like my boss giving me a raise, but telling me that he cannot pay me right now. Anyone who thinks schools need this money are fooling hemselves.Schools are big business; did Abraham Lincoln not learn by writing on the back of a shovel? But the biggest problem is if they raise taxes more people quit smoking, the less money they collect. Then what are they going to tax next? Tax the top 2 percent for their fair share, if I pay 15% so should they…PERIOD!!

  13. Marlboro Man says:

    I can’t really disagree with some of the comments but…IF the cigarette tax is so hard on the “poor” why aren’t Democrats suggesting cutting it in half or eliminating it all together? Don’t you care about the “poor”? I think that maybe these two Republicans are just having a little fun with you Democrats…watching you tie yourselves up in knots trying to criticize others for doing exactly what YOU do all the time. Seriously Dems, the Reps want to cut taxes…why not suggest the cigarette tax? $2.52 is too much but $1.23 isn’t? How do you come up with that?

    1. ex-Marlboro Man says:

      Why? Serious question – why cut it and maybe encourage more to start? At the same time enough is enough also.
      Smokes cause issues and we all know that. So some tax needs to be factored in to cover the medical expenses and programs for the vast numbers of uninsured/underinsured that hit the system. I’d say reduce the tax if the medical costs costs be contained but that ain’t happenin’

      I got another thought and it’s another sacred no-no for many too.
      Why not slap more taxes on alcohol? Seems logical – way more use alcohol than smoke, it takes an incredible toll on body also like smoking and impacts everything from work to families and marriages in ways that one cannot put a tab on.
      Plus a bottle or case of beer lasts a helluva lot longer than a pack of smokes.
      Just a thought …… but match it with a cut in spending somewhere too as requirement.

      For the record I smoked Viceroys at 10, then the red cowboys for the 41 years before quitting. From .30 a pack in the vending machines in drugstores/laundrmats to $4 a pack. 3 1/2-4 packs a day. The cost never entered my mind.
      I drank 32 years too before I quit- cost never a factor. Drank up a whole stinking paycheck over a weekend more than I care to remember. I don’t think the actual cost will ever make one quit anything.
      That said maybe it’s time to spread the taxes out, increase to get debt reduced and friggen cut back on spending.

      1. oleman2525 says:

        “So some tax needs to be factored in to cover the medical expenses”
        Ummm, That was addressed with the TOBACCO SETTLEMENT which our wonder lawmakers moved to the GENERAL FUND to cover the cost of their pork barrel projects! Lets triple the GAS TAX as we all know pollution spewed from the tailpipes are more of a problem to lung issues than 2nd hand smoke will ever be!

  14. Sue says:

    Sen. Carla Nelson and Rep. Mike Benson – what a stupid idea.

  15. Jay says:

    Seems kind of a stupid idea considering the percentage of smokers that have now quit accoding to released reports in the news.

  16. Murph says:

    Luckily the price of hangmans rope is still reasonable.Maybe we should use politicians to test it and make sure the quality and strength hasn’t been reduced for higher profits.

  17. Brad says:

    The state will not raise anywhere near what they project by hiking the cig tax; it is a fake number – supporting research:

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