New York cigar retailers and consumers that were bracing themselves for a massive hike in taxes on cigars can rest a bit easily–for now. Thanks in part to a grassroots effort of retailers, consumers and media outlets, the final New York State budget being adopted by the state’s legislature that is set to be signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo does not include the governor’s proposed tax hike on cigar products, which amounted in a 160 percent increase.
James Kommer, a New York tobacconist and owner of James & Sons Tobacconists, penned an article in the New York Post titled “New York is Begging for a Black Market Cigar Industry” which garnered the attention of many and served as a rallying call to action. This lead to increased media attention around the nation and other media outlets–including Tobacco Business magazine–to follow with further coverage on the potential negative consequences of the proposed tax hike.
“Our voice was heard in the halls of The State Capitol in Albany and we prevailed,” Kommer wrote in a message via his store’s website. “Victories like these are far and few between in deep blue northeastern states like New York. Thank you to everyone who took action to save our small businesses and spare cigar enthusiasts from this draconian tax hike.”
The only tax increase in Cuomo’s proposal to gain support among negotiators was reportedly a new tax on prescription opioids, reported Syracuse.com. This new tax would impose a 2-cent per milligram tax on the active opioid ingredients in prescription drugs and it would be paid for by drug manufacturers. This new tax alone is estimated to fund $200 million effort by New York state to battle the growing opioid drug epidemic through the new Opioid Prevention, Treatment and Recovery Fund.
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