The NY Post has a scathing editorial this morning on the NY State cigarette tax-and recommends, at least until there is some degree of enforcement, that the levy be lowered: "How pathetically predictable: Albany raises taxes on cigarettes to such onerous levels that purchasing them legally becomes all but unaffordable. So what happens? Folks buy them illegally. (Duh.) As reports in The Post last Friday and Saturday show, that's what's happening: underground sales of 7.3 million packs a month."
Stores who are trying to legally sell cigarettes simply cannot in the City of New York-not in a climate of lawlessness: "Legal sales, by contrast, plunged 27 per cent, from 41 million packs a month to 30 million, between June and July -- when Albany jacked up butt taxes to as much as $5.85 a pack in the city. That's far more than the 8 percent to 10 percent dip that the state projected. And it comes with a price: "We see lots of [rip-offs] and violence with drug-trafficking," ATF special agent Ron Turk told The Post. "As volume and money go up, the stakes get higher."