Its pitiful that we have to celebrate every instance of sensible government but as the world changes we must change with it. Minnesota is considering a change that will reduce the taxes on premium cigars. They have determined that premium cigars are taxed unfairly which leads me to wonder why is it that logic and reason relative to taxes and cigars is so rare these days.
As an east coast cigar lover I would like to extend my envy at even the possibility that this proposed tax change is implemented. While the anti-smoking advocates are working themselves into a furious lather I would like for them to consider that cigars are not the problem and the evidence to support this assertion is as deep as it is wide.
A bipartisan group of state lawmakers want to cut state taxes on premium cigars, as small retailers that sell the high-end products complain that the 2013 hike in tobacco taxes has cut deeply into their profits.
"This would not be rolling back taxes on all smoking by any stretch," said Rich Lewis, who has owned and operated Lewis Pipe & Tobacco in downtown Minneapolis for 40 years. "It would give us a chance to get our business going again."
Anti-smoking advocates have started mobilizing against the measure, as they draw links between evidence that smoking rates have fallen in Minnesota since the 2013 tobacco tax increase, which amounted to about $1.60 additional on a pack of cigarettes.
"Minnesota has a history of being hard on tobacco," said Michelle Morris, manager of tobacco prevention programs at the state chapter of the American Lung Association. "We should be celebrating these policies, not undoing them."
Still, the cigar tax cut proposal has high-powered support at the Capitol. Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, is a co-sponsor of the Senate bill. The Senate Taxes Committee reviewed the proposal Wednesday, and flagged it for possible inclusion in a broader omnibus tax bill.