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Dayton wants 94-cent-a-pack cigarette tax hike

Published On: Jan 22 2013 02:00:10 PM CST
smoking cigarette with ash

Zsuzsanna Kilian/SXC

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -

Gov. Mark Dayton is proposing a 94-cent increase in the state's tax on a pack of cigarettes.

Dayton is releasing his state budget blueprint on Tuesday. It includes a spending increases, and changes to the state tax system including an upper-income tax hike, a property tax rebate and state sales adjustments .

Dayton says he has been reluctant to raise the cigarette tax because it's among the most regressive taxes. That means it falls harder on people with low incomes. But Dayton says he thinks that is ultimately outweighed by the fact that increasing cigarette taxes has been shown to reduce the number of people who smoke.

The state's current cigarette tax rate is $1.58 a pack. Dayton says his proposed increase would make Minnesota's per-pack tax equal to Wisconsin's.