Some upset over the cigarette tax say it's unfair - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Some upset over the cigarette tax say it's unfair

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LEWISTON, Minn. (KTTC) -- A new proposal that would increase the tax on cigarettes has some smokers fuming. The money would be used to pay for the new Vikings stadium.

It's a move that has come since pull-tabs have generated less than expected revenue.

This is the result of a compromise that came to light in the House-Senate tax committee Thursday night. The move would bump up the cost of a pack of cigarettes by $1.60.

The proposed cigarette tax has become a burning issue.

"People are not being taxed evenly," said Matthew Smith of Lewiston. "They're just taxing one sector of the community."

Smith has been a smoker for about 26 years. A small engine mechanic, he smokes a pack to a pack-and-a-half per day. Meaning it would cost him as much as $900 more per year with the increase. Smith said while the tax committee thinks they'll generate the income they need on cigarettes, he says he'll cut back on smoking before he cuts back on other things.

"I'm not going to deprive my daughter of anything," Smith said. "She's going to get the best that I can give her. I'm not going to cut her out on that so if it means buying a few packs less cigarettes a week or what have you, I'm just not going to do it."

As the state tries to shore up their portion of the $975 million stadium, Smith doesn't see the tax dropping off cigarettes once the state collects their $348 million.

"They're not going to drop that tax back down," Smith said. "They're going to funnel it into another project."

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