With the state budget nearly three months late, state lawmakers approved Monday a new tax that will make cigarettes in New York City cost well over $10 a pack.
In an effort to raise revenue and get New Yorkers to quit smoking, lawmakers passed the new tobacco legislation that will raise taxes on cigarettes from $2.75 to $4.35.
With the $1.60 cent tax already in place, the tax will jump to $5.85 per pack in the city. The new law also authorizes the state to collect taxes on cigarettes from non-tribal customers on Native American lands.
Several Democrats opposed the bill but voted for it because it was attached to a budget bill that raises $440 million in revenue for the state.
Opponents say the law will set a bad precedent.
“It gives the governor the unprecedented power in this bill to settle a case without legislative approval, and not just settle any case but settle in a way that would change the law as it relates to Native American tax collection,” said Jose Luis Murillo, Jr. of the Altria Group.
“We’re a land of laws and today I think we’re taking a very important step in making sure those laws are being enforced and in the process get some very needed revenue,” said Senator Jeff Klein of the Bronx.
The cigarette tax increase will take effect July 1st.
The tax on snuff and little cigars will take effect on August 1st and the collection on Indian land will take effect September 1st.