The recently concluded state budget negotiations were not without acrimony. The governor's budget division folks are carping about the legislature's refusal to include Pataki's $1.50 cigarette tax in the final package. As the NY Times reports this morning, "The governor's staff also expressed concern that the Legislature was rejecting Governor Pataki's plan to increase cigarette taxes, which provide money for a variety of health care initiatives..."
Joe Bruno and the NYS Senate have been the strongest opponents of the increase and as John McArdle, Bruno's Senate spokesman said, "'there are plenty of other options besides new taxes to pay for health care.'" Let's hope so.
Still unresolved, however, is the fate of Mayor Bloomberg's additional 50 cent a pack increase for New York City. We certainly hope that the moolah provided by the state for the city's school system is enough to assuage the need for the legislature to cave in on this issue. As we have said before the increase will only encourage the Indian retail black marketers.