|Doubling cig taxes may reduce smoking, but it won't necessarily produce a cash infusion for the state.|
Minnesota's cigarette tax is currently near the national average, but the GOP proposal would raise the per-pack tax from $1.23 to more $2.52 per pack. That could amount to as much as $320 million annually for the state -- if people buy cigarettes legally.
And therein lies the problem, Fleenor argues. History shows that when Minnesota's cigarette taxes get out of whack with the rest of the country, people start smuggling cigarettes. And when people start smuggling cigarettes, taxed sales drop.