Tobacco tax increase

Drew Christensen, senior vice chair of College Republicans, University of Minnesota University of Minnesota

 

The budget put forth by Gov. Mark Dayton will negatively impact students. His tobacco tax increase is a regressive tax, which will hurt students. I am not a smoker myself, but even I see how bad of an idea this is.

First of all, raising prices on cigarettes does not stop people from smoking. Instead, they just look for cheaper alternatives. Some may drive to other states, others might buy them online. Either way, all we are doing is stopping tax revenues from going to Minnesota and sending that money elsewhere.

States that increase tobacco taxes generally miss their projected revenue increase, and some states have even seen a revenue decrease. We can’t afford that here.

Second, this tax will hit students and those with lower incomes much harder. We see Dayton talking about raising taxes on the rich, so what does he do? He increases a tax that will disproportionally affect college students. We already have limited income. This tax would require students who smoke to pay even more of their paycheck on cigarettes.

Dayton’s budget is bad for Minnesota, and it’s bad for students.