Raise state taxes on cigarettes, alcohol

  • Article by: EDITORIAL BOARD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 9, 2013 - 3:26 PM

It's a matter of health, but revenue gains would be significant.

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toldo1959Feb. 8, 13 7:20 PM

Either make tobacco illegal or stop victimizing addicts. You can't have it both ways.

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elvis711Feb. 8, 13 7:47 PM

Really? How about a $1 per cup tax on prepared Coffee?

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Mark27Feb. 8, 13 7:54 PM

toldo, your point is especially prescient as it applies to Governor Dayton, who opposed the tobacco tax increase back in the 2010 campaign. And Dayton specifically criticized Tom Horner for supporting a huge cigarette tax on the grounds of victimizing addicts. For Dayton to now come out as a champion of huge new cigarette taxes is a betrayal of the highest order, and even though I don't smoke, it's a betrayal I won't forget in 2014 if he goes through with it.

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rockpile12Feb. 8, 13 7:57 PM

My understanding of the new world order of political ideology was that the term “liberal” was supposed to be replaced with a more pleasant sounding word like “progressive”. Progressivism, we were told, was supposed to place the little guy first while making the successful fat cats pay for stuff. For Mark Dayton and the Star Tribune to call for the raising of taxes on tobacco and alcohol, that notion of not taxing the little guy goes right out the window – it’s as regressive as it gets. I think it’s pretty clear that Liberalism was never about sticking up for the little guy. It was always about empowering government – regardless of whose toes get stepped on.

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dwackoFeb. 8, 13 8:03 PM

Those drinkers and smokers need to pay their fair share...

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Mark27Feb. 8, 13 8:04 PM

As a liberal, I am both embarrassed and outraged by my would-be ideological soulmates who are sadly the key players in this unconscionable and never-ending war on smokers. We get that you hate these people....message received! But when is enough ever gonna be enough in dehumanizing them? I'm really not sure which scenario is more disgusting here: Scenario 1 where those calling for separating smokers from $1,000 per year more of their incomes are merely monstrous cynics seeking to outdo the tobacco companies by orders of magnitude in the amount of money they pocket preying upon the personal weaknesses of smokers.....or Scenario 2 where they are effectively embracing the James Dobson view of the world of "civilizing the savages" by imposing their preferred lifestyle values on those they deem morally inferior. Whichever scenario it is, supporters of even more tobacco taxes are morally bankrupt....and are wrong on just about else as it applies to the nuts and bolts of tobacco taxation as sound public policy as well.

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Mark27Feb. 8, 13 8:13 PM

rockpile12, for once I have no footing on which to take umbrage with your argument or to defend my own party's position on this one. Liberals are hypocrites, cynics, and predators on anything related to cigarette smoking. Or I should say...liberals in public office. Very few of the liberals I know personally could defend the state picking the pockets of low-income smokers to the tune of several hundred dollars per year more, but those on the left who ascend to public office seem to feel a specific calling to "civilize the unwashed"...and to seek revenue through the path of least resistance. As I've said elsewhere, I can't abide by further tobacco taxes. Voting Republican is not an option for me under any circumstance with the party's current ideological configuration, but leaving blank spaces on my ballot next to the name of any DFLer who preys upon smokers with more tax increases is an option I am fully prepared to take.

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rockpile12Feb. 8, 13 8:21 PM

Mark27 – as much as we disagree on pretty much everything, I appreciate your candor and honesty on this matter. I tip my cap to you sir.

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brotherkennyFeb. 8, 13 8:37 PM

We like to shame fat people too. Let's tax fast food as well. You know, any meal over 2000 calories gets taxed a quarter. We can't tax gambling, because that would be redundant. I know, energy drinks! You know, the act of seemingly passing judgment on them will drive some to feel their individual rights are being trampled and they will intentionally increase their consumption as a way of expressing their freedom. We all, who see the new tax coming, will invest in beverage companies that make a significant income on energy drinks, and we will all get paid. Win win.

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Mark27Feb. 8, 13 9:30 PM

Let's just put it this way....if the tobacco companies said they were gonna raise their prices $1.60 a pack using the same argument used as this editorial's headline--"It's a matter of health, but revenue gains would be significant."--would anybody believe it was really "a matter of health"? If we wouldn't believe Philip Morris if they used that argument, why should anybody buy it coming from Ann Lenczewski or the Star Tribune editorial board? Whenever cigarette taxes are put up to a vote by the public, even in antismoking states like Oregon and California, they are virtually always rejected. As gullible as the public is on many things, the argument on behalf of more cigarette tax hikes is so comically cynical that there is virtually no corner of the country in which voters find it persuasive. As ill-advised as last year's ballot initiatives in Minnesota were, it sure would be nice if voters had a say on this cigarette tax issue. I feel as though I know Minnesotans well enough that people of all ideological stripes would oppose it by a solid 60-40 margin. Unfortunately, we're entirely at the mercy of editorial boards and politicians on a sin crusade.

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