Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Cigarette Tax Attack

Mayor Bloomberg, not to be outdone by Governor Pataki in this area, has called on the state to increase his already confiscatory cigarette tax by an additional 50 cents a pack. This would bring a pack of smokes in the city to a record $8 a pack. The mayor, as usual, frames this as a public health measure and never bothers to address the tax's impact on local stores.

In fact in all of yesterday's coverage of the mayor's initiative there was no mention whatsoever of the economic impact of this tax increase. There was, however, a plea by Bloomberg to eliminate the "job-killing" tax on clothing items costing $110 or less.

It would be nice if the mayor would exhibit just the smallest amount of sympathy for the littlest store owners. But even if he doesn't he definitely should be concerned for public safety, and the huge black market that his tax creates.

The position of the Alliance is that no new tobacco tax should be enacted until the governor enforces the law against Indian retailers. The failure to do so has cost upstate convenience stores tens of millions of dollars every year and has cost the state treasury at least $800 in lost revenue.