February 21, 2005


Bill would raise cigarette tax a buck a pack (Dane Smith, February 22, 2005, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Cigarette taxes would go up $1 per pack, raising about $250 million a year to reduce health-care taxes on Minnesota small businesses, under a tripartisan "revenue neutral" bill announced today and backed by small businesses, health insurance companies and health advocacy groups.

The proposal was first unveiled in December by Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Despite the potential power of the tobacco lobby and anti-tax groups to block such a proposal, sponsors said today a confluence of forces this year will help them prevail. Small businesses are hurting much more than large businesses from soaring health-care costs and disproportionately high state taxes and assessments to support health-care coverage, sponsors say.

For the first time, the tobacco tax increase has the support of the Minnesota chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), which represents mostly small businesses, and which has been strongly opposed to almost all tax increases in previous years.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 21, 2005 5:27 PM

Out there somewhere is a partial list of 18 taxes and fees on MN businesses.

Posted by: Sandy P at February 22, 2005 12:39 AM

Why not increase the cigarette tax? Only the little people pay cigarette taxes.

The NFIB has obviously bought the line that an increase in the price of cigarettes will reduce smoking and reduce health care costs. By the same reasoning, one can soon expect them to endorse additional taxes on fast food, fatty food, booze, beer, skis, sweets, baked goods, etc.

The only thing left untaxed will be organically grown kale.

Posted by: Bart at February 22, 2005 8:29 AM

Yes, why not?

Posted by: oj at February 22, 2005 9:10 AM

The existing tax on cigarettes already far outweighs any incremental health care cost smoking imposes.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 22, 2005 9:22 AM

Yes, for those of you who think self-murder is hip that may be true.

Posted by: oj at February 22, 2005 11:46 AM

When do we start taxing cheese, potato chips and french fries? How about mayonnaise. Stop the insanity!

Posted by: Pat H at February 22, 2005 1:41 PM


The comparison to cigarettes seems inapt. Those products can be used in moderation without ill effects.

Posted by: oj at February 22, 2005 3:54 PM

Stoppin people from a personal activity, when the costs for that activity are much more than covered, is the act of a nanny-state.

And your suggestion that other things, used in moderation, don't count because of the lack of ill effects doesn't make sense.

You have no idea what moderation is, nor what to do when people go beyong that limit. Further, I'll bet there is some moderate amount of smoking that carries with it no ill effects.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 23, 2005 7:57 AM


No, a daddy state. Morality is masculine.

Posted by: oj at February 23, 2005 8:23 AM

No. A mommy-may-I nanny state.

Just like what is afflicting Europe.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 23, 2005 11:57 AM

Europe, like you, is bereft of morality. That's a feminine quality--the unwillingness to judge. It's suitable to the family.

We're a religious, or daddy, state. Morality is predominantly male because without it relations between men would be so brutal. It's necessary for a society.

Posted by: oj at February 23, 2005 12:09 PM