NY's Cigarette Tax May Hurt Businesses

PINE VALLEY - A hike in New York’s cigarette tax has at least one mom and pop's shop worried about sales. The hike is part of the state budget passed on Wednesday.

PINE VALLEY - A hike in New York’s cigarette tax has at least one mom and pop's shop worried about sales. The hike is part of the state budget passed on Wednesday. Sue Richter owns a convenient store in Pine Valley. She says the cigarette tax increase will cut her cigarette sales by half. Richter says that's what happened in 2002 when the state last raised it. “It really has impacted my business quite a bit because when people don't come in for Cigarettes, they also don't come in to buy their soda, gas, or other things so my total sales go down,” says Richter. New York State lawmakers approved the tax hike in this year's budget. The tax will go up by a $ 1.25, making the total $2.75 per pack of Cigarettes. That puts New York ahead of New Jersey for the nation's highest cigarette tax. The move will raise about $265 million for health programs. “I typically sell 200 cartons a week and I expect that to go down to about 100. That's what happened last time when the state legislature put such a high tax increase,” says Richter. Smokers aren't surprised by the hike and say they'll continue to pay for a habit they enjoy. “To me it really doesn't make a difference. I mean if you smoke, you just got to hustle a little a bit harder if you want Cigarettes,” says Andrew Owens from Elmira. “I probably have to go get a job and then buy Cigarettes that way,” says Zach Fields of Elmira. “I'm cutting back anyway but I think that's crazy. Besides most people are going to PA any to buy Cigarettes,” says P.C Benson from Elmira. Again, in New York you'll pay an additional $2.75 on a pack of Cigarettes. By comparison, you'll only pay an additional $1.35 in Pennsylvania. The new cigarette tax hike in New York will take effect June 3rd.

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