June 3, 2008

Cigarette Tax

As most smokers in the state know, New Yorkers started paying the highest cigarette taxes in the nation yesterday with the latest $1.25 spike per pack that officials expect to bring in $265 million a year.

Smokers will be paying $2.75 per pack in state taxes, a jump from the previous tax of $1.50. Before the new tax, the average price of a pack of cigarettes was $5.82 statewide, and about $8 a pack in New York City, which levies its own taxes.

In response to the new tax, Jim Calvin, president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores had this to say: "The tax increase is only going to feed that epidemic. More and more smokers in New York state are going to abandon our stores that have to charge the tax and shift their purchases to places that don't charge the tax, most notably Native American stores, the Internet and bootleggers.''

Being the inquisitive type, I decided to do a little research. I did a Google search of "purchase cigarettes online". Now, I wasn't overly surprised when 208,000 results showed up. I was, however surprised at the number of sites offering extremely low-cost tobacco products. One site
has Marlboro for $12.90 per carton, somewhat less than the $50+ you'll pay at Tops.

Another site offers Camel cigarettes for $13.05 per carton. They are European Camels, but most smokers won't care.

Of course, those of us who live in Niagara County know that we have an Indian reservation that offers tobacco products at en even lower cost smack-dab in the middle of the county. There are also reservations around Syracuse and on Long Island.

So will raising the cig tax $1.25 bring in the anticipated additional $265 million a year that the state is projecting? I'm going to go out on a limb and say no, but I will predict that Smokin' Joe Anderson has another billion in his bank account before too long.


Anonymous said...

Now we heard it all, boo hoo for all the quicky mart owners, those stores are run by crooks and terrorists. These stores sell little bags for crack, lottery tickets, etc, but now they will be sending less money back to home to help fund the killing of our troops. Hobbes smoking should just be outlawed problem solved. Whats wrong you just mad Smoking Joe is a dem?

Anonymous said...

Republicans need to get this pissed off about gas tax and all other taxes like this one. Talk about taking away your freedom. The state has deemed that smoking is so bad for you that they are going to tax it until yo can't afford to smoke. Land of the free...freedom is the choice to make your own decision, right or wrong (within limits of course, but cigs are def within that limit, drugs are not)

Pete M said...

But the hypocrisy of this move is staggering. The state wants an extra $265 million in revenue, but they want people to quit smoking, which would reduce revenue. So which is it? Do we want the cash or do we want people to quit smoking?

Anonymous said...

Joe Anderson may be a Dem, but he gives plenty of cash to the GOP. Check the board of elections filings.

Anonymous said...

Anon.... "all the quicky mart owners, those stores are run by crooks and terrorists." Plain and simple a stupid response. Your generalizations speak volumes to your intelligence. Does us a favor, stay away from your computer.

Clark Griswold said...

I think you hit the nail right on the head, Pete M. Although I'm for almost anything to keep people away from smoking, I think it's pretty naive to believe that this is actually going to help our state financially, let alone the thousands of small businesses that are no doubt going to take a major hit from this tax IMO.

Anonymous said...

The plan would work if not for the internet and Native American reservations. The reservations provide an alternative to actually paying the tax or quitting the habit. The tax is nothing more than an unfair competitive disadvantage for our local retailers.

...now, if the State collects tax on cigarettes from the Indians, we have a different ball game. Gov. Patterson? Your move.

fat tony said...

Many of you are missing the big picture. If this tax increase forces some people to quit smoking, anything the state loses in tax revenues will be easily made up for in averted health care costs.

All of you "it's my right to smoke" geniuses forget that your disgusting habit is raising insurance premiums on the rest of us.

I'm not advocating big brotherism here, but maybe the state should step in and ban this.

I remember feeling outraged when there was talk of legislation that made it illegal to smoke in your own car if you had children in the backseat. Now, I think this bill is a no-brainer and people who smoke in cars with children should be brought up on criminal charges.

I hope they raise the tax another $10.

Anonymous said...

Your right on fat stoney, but there should also be a deposit on the butts. Just think how that would help the poor people, smokers love just to throw out their butts everywhere.

Larry S said...

Hey Fat Tony, it IS my right to smoke. And the gov't thinks its okay too when they use $60 mil in cigarette taxes to renovate Rich Stadium.

If smoking kills, outlaw it.

Some guys a few years back had a similar notion as yours, it was called Prohibition, the creator of organized crime. I'm thinking the Luchessi family would like nothing better than to have smokes go up another $10 a pack, or better yet, outlaw them. That little thing called the Black Market would thrive.

Anonymous said...

If Rivera really wanted to get rid of Diane Roberts, he'd give her a carton of unfiltered Luckys.

WilliamWallace said...

fat tony: there is a reason health insurers ask if you smoke or have smoked, its to give non smokers lower rates and smokers higher rates. Now if the government stepped in and forced everyone to take gov't health insurance, then we would all be bearing the cost of others smoking.

Larry S, driving can kill, should we outlaw it too? There is obviously a line to be drawn and I think it can permit smoking cigarettes.

Larry S said...

Willy, I said if smoking kills, outlaw it, because I've seen no evidence that, if used in moderation, tobacco is deadly. If you smoke 4 packs a day, you're odds of health issues increases. The same argument can be made for driving. If I put 150 miles a day on my car, I'm MUCH more likely to be involved in an accident than someone who drives 10 a day. So yes, using your logic, driving should be outlawed.

In addition, automobiles put more pollutants into the air than tobacco, another reason to ban cars.

And, cow shit is eroding the ozone, so we should outlaw cows.

And my PC monitor is hurting my eyes so we should ban computers.

And the noses of Democrats are being yanked all over Niagara County so we should eliminate either a) noses or 2) fingers in which noses are pulled.

Anonymous said...

Larry its your right to jerk off but you dont have to do it in public. Hobbes you should tax jerking off, the county would be in great shape.

WilliamWallace said...

Larry S: Ur previous post was confusing then. "If smoking kills, outlaw it". I think that stmt is asking for cigarettes to be outlawed b/c, for all significant purposes, there there is no such thing as moderation in smoking that doesn't kill. I don't think that anyone smokes cigarettes at a level that doesn't hurt them, minus party smokers who smoke a pack once a week on the weekends when drinking (which would still be up for debate as to whether or not it hurts them). Cigars would be another story.

I think you shouldn't ban cigarettes because its the smoker's choice, even though it hurts them. It would be like not allowing people to drive because they can kill themselves. This argument stops, however, when speaking about drugs, or other things because the benefit to the individual doesn't outweigh the damage to society. The damage to society for a smoker killing himself by smoking is de minimus. The effect on society for a drug addict is significant. Alcohol just passes, marijuana fails. Freedom ends when your acting infringes too much on someone else's right, that's why outlawing smoking in public spaces is fine by me, but private restaurants not. That's the line for me. All of this applies to taxes too: Additional tax on cigarettes themselves like this is a crock.

Larry S said...

Driving kills too. Thousands of people die on the roads of America every year. Thus one can make the argument that driving kills. The problem is, not everyone who drives dies. The same argument can be made for smoking. Not everyone who smokes dies.

I said, if smoking kills, outlaw it because I don't think smoking kills. Does it contribute to an unhealthy lifestyle? Sure, but no more than Twinkies, all-you-can-eat buffets, Jack Daniels, Lays potato chips and a thousand other things that we encounter every day in our lives that can be "perceived" as unhealthy.

Attacking smokers is okay because its not PC to smoke. But what about the hogs you encounter in Tops with $300 worth of Hohos and Pepsi every week, ON MY TAX DOLLAR? Their lifestyle absolutely drives up the cost of insurance, but no one talks about that because it'd be discriminatory. It's a bullshit double standard.

Like I said, its okay for politicians to attack smokers because its PC, but youd never hear any of them saying we need to tax Twinkies to address the obesity problem in this country that has made us the biggest bunch of fat asses in the world.

Methane from cow shit is eroding the ozone which increases the risk of skin cancer.

When does it end?

WilliamWallace said...

I agree. But there is a line where some regulation is ok. You are arguing a libertarian point of view, which can be dangerous at times. Why not allow Cocaine to be used b y any ad all people? Because some things are inherently dangerous and if society at large can agree to outlaw certain things, then its too bad for those users.
Conservatives are willing to limit their libertarian views because some things are just right and wrong. Some things can be controlled by the individual and deserve a choice. Others, no choice is allowed in our society. Those wishing to have absolute choice over EVERYTHING can go to one of those crumbling cities that tried that already and failed. It has nothing to do with being politically correct. It's all about invasion of other people's liberty. Gov't is here to ensure your liberty.

Same thing goes, sorry, your doing of X, invades my space. A fat ass eating his twinkey doesnt invade my space, but when he pays for it with welfare, then thats a totally different story. The problem with that goes back to the whole problem with welfare and income redistribution to begin with. That's a whole separate argument for another post.

Both arguments arrive at the same result, get there different ways

Anonymous said...

Hobbes why no posts about your new bullshit homeland security dept? No other county has one, but noooooooooo we need it here, you just cant wait to hire one of sloma's ball washers.

Richard Strongbridge, Ph.D said...

Fortunately for everyone NYS really cares about its citizens. So much so it is going to tax all of us to death.

Take Assemblyman Felix Ortix (D-Brooklyn) who wants to add $0.25 to every alcoholic beverage sold in NYS. It's a "sin tax." Why you ask? Felix cares. Felix thinks this will curb underage drinking.

Felix is also a fuckin loon.


He also continues to fight to have fast food establishments post the calories of the food they serve for all to see. To be honest, if you don't know that you are eating Supersized heart attack meal, then you deserve what is coming to you. But people still try to seriously counter act the fact that they have a 700+ calorie double quarter pounder with cheese and a 600+ supersized fry with a 0 calorie supersized diet coke.

NYS Cares about you.

Anonymous said...

CA thinks...you Easterners need to chill out. Buy your smokes where they're cheap and not taxed, don't drink & drive, don't watch fat people eat, and get used to the idea that your medical premiums are going to be high. Try not to be so cranky! :)