Having bailed out New York state by hiking tobacco taxes to the skies, the inept politicians are poised once again to bludgeon smokers, this time to the death.
Unsurprisingly Albany has blown the taxpayers’ money and is facing a $5-billion budget gap. Reduce spending on useless and wasteful programs? Perish the thought. Why be fiscally prudent when anti-tobacco says that smokers offer an endless source of cash? The politicians, of course, are too damn dumb to realize that anti-tobacco is, as always, lying when it preaches that raising the cigarette tax to obscene heights is the road to financial solvency.
Certainly if a new proposal to increase the tax is adopted the price of a pack of cigarettes in New York state will be very obscene indeed. In New York City, which imposes its own tax, a pack of smokes will cost $10. Already there have been a multitude of deaths attributed to black market squabbles amongst the criminal class, which is the only class to benefit when tax policy becomes out-and-out theft. Expect the violence to grow as more and more smokers abandon the Mom and Pop stores.
In addition to the expanding black market New York smokers can avoid all state taxes by driving to one of the Indian reservations located in the state. Millions of dollars have been "lost" to state and local governments due to reservation cigarette sales.
"It [tribal or black market] encourages people not to be ripped off," the founder of Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment, Audrey Silk, said of cigarette taxes. "Any consumer who’s so abused will look for ways to avoid it, making outlaws out of normally law-abiding citizens."
Common sense, however, is a virtue unknown to the governing class that prefers to get its information from "experts" that have an ideological and financial motive for making cigarettes unaffordable. Lobbying for the cigarette tax increase is the Tobacco-Free Kids, an outfit that is in the pay of the pharmaceutical industry. The drug companies, of course, hope to make big bucks from selling their smoking cessation nostrums. New York politicians often find themselves in bed with sleazy characters and none are more sleazy than the anti-tobacco operatives that strut their stuff in Albany to a gang of politicians which long ago forgot how to represent the people who sent them there.