Iowa convenience stores near the Minnesota border are already seeing an upturn in customers. On Monday, Minnesota added a 75-cent-per-pack tax to cigarettes. Sue Novitski manages the Northwood Short Stop in far northern Iowa’s Worth County. She’s seeing plenty of people pile in for cheap smokes and anticipates more.Novitski says Minnesotans who work in Northwood already tend to stop by and get things before running back north across the border, and she expects traffic at her store will increase with the new cigarette tax. There are two factories in the Northwood area that bring in lots of customers as the town is only three miles from the Minnesota border. Novitski says Minnesotans already tend to patronize her shop to fill their needs on another vice — alcohol.Novitski says Minnesota does not allow alcohol sales on Sundays, so people have to trek across the border to buy beer and other spirits. Several other new laws took effect in Minnesota on Monday, including an increase in the state’s minimum wage, a lowering of the legal blood-alcohol limit to point-oh-eight and tougher penalties for speeders, predatory sex offenders and meth makers.
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