Monday, January 28, 2008

Spitzer and Butthead

In today's NY Post, the inimitable Arthur Katz lashes out at Governor Spitzer for his failure to live up to his promise to enforce the law against Indians selling non-taxed cigarettes. The governor's failure here, and we met with him three years ago when he promised to enforce the law as soon as he was elected, is costing the state big bucks at a time when New York is fiscally challenged.

As Katz points out: "For all his concern over the state's tight budget outlook, Gov. Spitzer is squandering nearly $1 billion a year in lost revenues by letting Indian reservation retailers avoid cigarette excise and sales taxes, in violation of state law." Once again, an elected official exhibits little or no concern for the state's tax paying retailers.

It gets worse, however, when you consider the fact that untaxed smokes increase the likelihood that minors will get their hands on them: "Cigarette taxes discourage smoking, especially by teens. City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden put it this way: "Increasing tobacco taxes is the single most effective way to reduce tobacco consumption, particularly for kids."

NYC retailers are losing $250 million a year to black market sales. Mayor Mike has called this a "minor economic issue." Now the governor joins the uncaring chorus and retailers can stuff it.