The NY Post has an incisive editorial on the feckless governor and his phony posturing on cigarette enforcement-can he leave too soon? As the paper points out, mirroring our own comments from last week: "Just how much do New York's cigarette smugglers love David Paterson? Turns out, we had no idea. The governor, of course, has been stalling any comprehensive crackdown on Indian tribes' illicit trade since the moment he took office. He's also raised cigarette taxes through the roof, greatly increasing buttleggers' profit margins. Now Thomas Stanton, the veteran investigator who until last week ran the state Tax Department's enforcement division, says the Paterson administration has deep-sixed just about any effective action against the traffickers."
What we originally envisioned as simply an, "Indian Summer of Love," is threatening to turn into something much worse-with the summer profits being rolled into a continual, and year long, assault on the state's legitimate cigarette selling small businesses: "Paterson, meanwhile, has allowed at least 24 million cartons a year to flow through New York's Indian reservations by refusing to put into effect a law requiring wholesalers to affix tax stamps to individual packs before they send them to tribal retailers."
Can someone literally show this bozo the door? "Amazingly, it was just last month that Paterson was promising $150 million in new revenue by finally forcing tribes to pay the tax. But by icing covert enforcement operations, he shows how much his administration really cares about the revenue. It gets worse: Eric Proshansky, a city Law Department attorney who's heading up Gotham's efforts to shut down buttlegging smoke shops on the Poospatuck reservation on Long Island, says it's his understanding that the Tax Department has been told to stop all enforcement around that reservation."
If a RICO investigation was launched, it would have to target the governor as a witting co-conspiritor. And the state senate should take heed of the governor's duplicitousness-and hold the governor's hand, as well as the budget, to the fire on this revenue collection travesty. No more Paterson woof tickets about legislative inaction on the budget. A simple message to the lame duck would suffice: collect the Indian cigarette taxes, or there will be no budget deal.