Who Has Two Thumbs…

… And predicted this two years ago?

Less than two years after Minnesota raised its cigarette tax to one of the highest in the country, cigarette smuggling has become a growing business in the state. Now officials want more money to combat the problem.

Minnesota Department of Revenue officials seized or assessed untaxed tobacco products in more than 40 percent of the 374 retail inspections conducted through the first three quarters of last year. Before the cigarette tax jumped $1.60 per pack, or 130 percent, retail inspections found untaxed tobacco products only 8 percent of the time. The agency typically conducts 700 inspections a year.

Why, as it happens, you read it here first.

Not that it takes a rocket scientist to figure this out. But it seems the DFL has banned rocket science.

12 thoughts on “Who Has Two Thumbs…

  1. It isn’t that MN cigarette taxes are too high, it’s that other states’ cigarette taxes are too low.
    You gotta get your mind right.

  2. I wonder where the untaxed cigs are being sold? Just a guess….not Super America or Kwik Trip. I’m guessing it is urban indie stores.

    The headline should read “Police action hits minority owned buisinesses the hardest”.

  3. Minorities smoke more and make less money than whites.
    “Put down that pack of Kools, Black man! Smoking is for white people!”

  4. Related…..I was in Hudson Wisconsin yesterday. Loaded up on beer at Spirit Seller liquors on 2nd street. Good prices anway, plus a sales tax of only 5.5%, vs 9.6 – 10.1% in the Twin Cities.

  5. Probably a big deal. A million smokers in the state buying a pack of death sticks every couple of days amounts to hundreds of millions in revenue annually. $282 million in 2012 before the hike. Probably the only thing that’s keeping the revenues up is the distance to the Dakotas and Iowa for most Minnesota smokers.

    And as I rarely see a smoker buying tobacco without buying something else at the “stop & rob”, I’m guessing they’re getting hit hard near state lines.

  6. Chuck, there’s a reason all the liquor stores in Hudson are near the freeway. And it ain’t to make deliveries easier. Between the cost and Sunday sales, WI has MN beat.

  7. Remember the “I can’t breathe” guy? Cops were arresting him for selling “loosies,” which are individual cigarettes sold loose, not in a pack. That’s illegal because the state can’t be certain tax was paid on cigarettes that aren’t in the pack.

    Only a matter of time before Minnesota moves up into the New York Big Leagues, start killing loosie sellers of our own. Think of the tourist dollars the Al Sharpton crowd will bring!

  8. Am I correct in believing cigs sold on the reservation are tax free? If so, then I think our debt to Native Americans is paid in full.

  9. Joe:

    You beat me to the punch on what I wanted to say. Just curious the money that locals are asking how much are for proper training of their police officers to catch and arrest tobacco smugglers?

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  10. In that article, I wondered when they were talking about cigaret smuggling, were they talking about semi-truck loads worth, or the person who went to Hudson or Superior and got a week or twos worth?

  11. I would laugh so hard if it was semis. Wait for the state AG to come down hard on Nordakota businesses selling more than one carton per day per customer.

    But seriously, there are those who are smuggling for profit (I must admit I’ve been tempted), and those who simply buy an extra carton or two when they’re in the area. I’m guessing the cost of the latter far exceeds $2.6 million.

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