The increase in the state cigarette tax went into effect today, just one day after the governor signed the increase into law. That left many stores scrambling to change their prices. Workers at the Cigarette Outlet in North Liberty closed the doors two hours early Thursday night so they could reprice every pack of cigarettes. Debbie Schnyder is leading the crew and says it’s a lot of work.
"We had over 58 pages of price changes, probably 30 things listed on each page," Schnyder says. Schnyder had to scan more than 1,400 packs of cigarettes. Three days of work crammed into one just to meet a tight deadline. Schnyder says she knew this was coming, but she had no idea lawmakers would require such a quick turnaround.
Schnyder says, "I just wish Mr. Culver would come and help out, he did this, so he should just come on out and help." Workers at the store say most customers stocked up, spending probably 150 to 500 dollars, racking up money the store usually makes in four days. But Schnyder says its downhill from here. She expects a dramatic drop in sales.
"People will quit, but most it (cigarette sales) we’re gonna lose to out-of- state," says Schnyder. The law raises the total tax on cigarettes to one-dollar and 36 cents a pack, but it also affects other tobacco products, like cigars and chewing tobacco.