Iowa’s new tobacco tax has made cartons of cigarettes a hot commodity. Des Moines police are investigating a string of thefts at local convenience stores — and back in March, thieves broke into a warehouse in Boone and stole more than 500 cartons of cigarettes. Iowa Governor Chet Culver says the tax increase present some new challenges, but was still the right thing to do.
Culver says overall the change has been a positive thing, as it provides the opportunity to generate four to 500-million dollars over the next four years to improve access to quality healthcare for those who don’t have it. The state collected 11 million more dollars in cigarette taxes in May than one year ago. Culver says the extra revenue has validated the decision by lawmakers to begin collecting the higher tax in March rather than waiting until the new fiscal year.
Culver says there are always challenges anytime you implement a new law. He says the Department of Revenue is doing all it can to ensure that all outlets are honoring the new law. Many store owners on Iowa’s southern border say they’re losing sales to Missouri after the cigarette tax increase.