NY Governor Wants Smokers to Balance the Budget

The health organizations are applauding Governor Paterson’s attempt to raise cigarette taxes on New Yorkers to the highest in the nation. They understand that drastically increasing a tax on a product will mean less of that product will be sold, whether it be cigarettes or soda. But that doesn’t stop the accidental governor from trying. He’s got a budget gap that’s wider than Niagara Falls and he has to get the money from somewhere. It may as well be the one group of people everyone loves to hate.

New York Post: Gov. Paterson lit up the budget battle last night by announcing he would force lawmakers to approve a staggering $1.60-a-pack tax hike on cigarettes or risk a chaotic government shutdown.

The tactic will assuredly set up another showdown in the narrowly divided state Senate, where both parties have issued firm no-tax pledges as the fight for control rages in the shadow of the November elections.

The proposed tax represents a 60-cent increase over the plan floated by Paterson in February.

It would hike the state’s total tax on smokes to $4.35 — up nearly 60 percent.

That’s on top of the $1.50 city tax and the $1.01 federal tax claim on each pack of cigarettes.

The average pack now costs about $10 in the Big Apple.

The governor would also jack up the tax, from 46 to 75 percent of wholesale cost, on other tobacco products.

“I’d like for him to take that tax and stick it!” said incensed smoker Deborah Reed, 56.

“They keep going after the smokers and that’s wrong,” she said.

He’s also going after the Native Americans, and will attempt to force them to collect taxes on cigarettes. Let’s hope we don’t see the efforts to shut down highways, burning of tires and violence that we saw the last time a governor tried this. Things tend to get nasty when people’s livelihood is at stake. Who knows, maybe it won’t come to that. Last time the government tried to get the tribes to collect the taxes directly. Today the plan is to collect the tax from the manufacturer before the cigarettes are sold to the tribes. Now many of the tribes are manufacturing their own cigarettes which they can sell without government interference. They’ve been here before and have learned how to play the game.