Sin Tax Wars! 60.9% of all smokes in NY go untaxed

posted at 8:31 am on January 19, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

With all the nonsense that’s been going on in the Empire State of late – especially the Governor’s successful gun rantings – I’d begun to worry that New York was doomed for mediocrity. But for better or worse, you just can’t keep the government of this state down. If we can’t lead in freedom, prosperity or employment, we can at least be the capital of piracy. (Cigarette smuggling piracy, that is.)

The Midland, Mich.-based Mackinac Center has released smuggling reports in 2006 and 2009, in addition to its most recent report covering 2011. In 2006, the Mackinac Center estimated that New York had the fifth highest smuggling rate in the country as 35.81%. In 2008, New York’s state excise tax on cigarettes nearly doubled, going from $1.50 to $2.75 per pack. In the Mackinac Center’s 2009 report, New York rose to number two on the list, with a smuggling rate of 47.35%. State excise taxes rose again in 2010, going from $2.75 to the state’s current $4.35. Not surprisingly, the 190% increase in state excise taxes from 2006 through 2011 catapulted New York to its title as the most smuggled state.

But this still leaves a pressing question. Where are all of these smokes coming from? It’s not as if Al Gore’s global warming has suddenly turned New York into a great place to grow tobacco. According to another analysis, the largest (illegal) exporter of cigarettes to the Big Apple was New Hampshire. How could that happen?

New Hampshire had the highest share of its cigarettes — 26.8 percent — smuggled out of the state. The state cut its tax rate in 2011 by 10 cents to $1.68, still slightly higher than the national average. But it is surrounded by states with much higher tax rates. In Massachusetts, for example, the tax was $2.51 per pack.

If it was easier to get large quantities of cigarettes from a place like Tennessee to New York, that’s where they would be coming from. (You can find Marlboros there for under five bucks a pack today, all taxes included.) But New Hampshire is closer, so their retailers reap the benefits. Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo’s state continues to bleed out cash, thinking that just one more tax hike will finally make the difference and put us back in the black.

Let us know how that works out, Andy.

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Is righttobright a Bloomberg’s wife?

VorDaj on January 20, 2013 at 12:27 AM

Pal, show me where I said pass a law…now show me where I said I don’t think any tax should be raised.

Taxing it aggressively is foolish, especially when they say things like “The added tax will help the schools”…uhhhh, yeah, teach the kids that smoking is good for schools.

Taxing cigarettes out of business won’t work…

right2bright on January 19, 2013 at 11:36 AM

No, I agree, I don’t want any taxes on those cigarettes, just jaw’in with people who think there is no problem with smoking…I have seen too many people taken down, at a time when they should be enjoying their hard work…don’t let my post do anything but say I care enough to have someone hate me, if it just makes them stop and think…it’s the family, not just them.

Common sense should regulate what we do, not the government…like I posted the other day…strange how the people who depend on us to choose them as leaders, don’t trust our decisions…guess they know more about themselves than we do.

right2bright on January 19, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Next time pal, take some time to read the posts…you embarrassed yourself.

Stating that cigarettes is bad for your health ain’t exactly “new age”…sheeeesh

right2bright on January 20, 2013 at 12:34 AM

right2bright on January 19, 2013 at 11:04 PM

The tax on smokers funds the child welfare medical programs…nobody wants smokers to quit smoking really…

workingclass artist on January 20, 2013 at 12:04 AM

That’s a joke, the money funds the politicians, not the welfare medical programs…taxing something that people demand is a useless exercise to solve a problem.
You educate, let them know that it harms not only them, but the family as well…
The tax on cigarettes should be exactly this…the same as any other product.

It’s just another way to squeeze money out of someone who is basically defenseless.

right2bright on January 20, 2013 at 12:39 AM

and probably #4 on a few other substances grown locally…

right2bright on January 19, 2013 at 4:33 PM

Since we have legalized marijuana, I would hope we soon became #1 on the list of states that forcefully rejected the unconstitutional “war on drugs”. The image of a few DEA agents in county lockup would do my heart good.

iconoclast on January 20, 2013 at 1:22 AM

The really amusing part about smoking is how it helps resolve our entitlement problem. Smokers die younger than non-smokers. Less money from social security and less money from Medicare.

So instead of the government inflating its way out of the entitlement mess they should just hand out free cigarettes.

iconoclast on January 20, 2013 at 1:24 AM

There’s a store (at least there used to be) right on the New Hampshire side of I-95, right across the border from Massachusetts where you could buy liquor at much lower prices. Mostly due to lower tax rates. It’s not as if this isn’t an unknown phenomenon.

rbj on January 19, 2013 at 9:13 AM

I am not sure about the MA side of the border but the one close to ME is still there (it only takes 15 min to drive thru NH on I-95 so maybe we are talking about the same one.)

The Maine state police used to park out the parking lot and reported Maine license plates so they could be nabbed when they crossed back into Maine @ the tollbooth. (classic stupidity in action) The problem was they could not monitor every NH liquor store so people from Maine started getting their booze from stores in NH not on I-95.

It is the same thing all over again with smokes and NY.

F15Mech on January 20, 2013 at 1:56 AM

The tax on smokers funds the child welfare medical programs…nobody wants smokers to quit smoking really…

workingclass artist on January 20, 2013 at 12:04 AM

You’re not really that dumb, are you?

98ZJUSMC on January 20, 2013 at 3:22 AM

It is the same thing all over again with smokes and NY.

F15Mech on January 20, 2013 at 1:56 AM

And Illinois. Smokes on this side of the border: (non-Cook County) $5.79 – $7.49/pk. 20 minutes away in Ky: $2.89. I trip there two times a month. Cops? Never seen them.

98ZJUSMC on January 20, 2013 at 3:26 AM

They just raised the ‘sin taxes’ here in the Philippines, too. A carton of Marlboro cigarettes is selling for p499 (that’s about $12.50) – so around $1.25 a pack. I expect the black market to flourish here.

I have no idea where they will come from, tho. The closest cheap supplier would be China, but they would probably be counterfeit. And considering China’s track record (toxic pet food, toxic wall board, toxic baby food) – you are asking for a chest-load of cancer smoking those. Well, a double-dead chest-load, compared to smoking normal cigarettes.

Timothy S. Carlson on January 20, 2013 at 5:13 AM

I wonder if their smuggling estimates include smokers who form a pool, then send someone across state lines to buy, say, $500 worth of cigarettes? You know it’s happening. I’d do it just for the joy of shafting New York.

nraendowment on January 20, 2013 at 7:10 AM

My daughter has a neighbor who is over 90 years old and still smokes. He lives in New York and buys all his cigarettes at the Indian Reservation. Just imagine a smoker, living on a fixed income, being put in that situation because of greedy politicians. The Democrats have successfully killed the goose that laid the golden egg, when it comes to cigarettes.

If you really want to laugh, do some homework and find out how much money the states were taking in BEFORE they decided it was a good idea to put burdensome taxes on cigarettes, it was no small sum of money.

bflat879 on January 20, 2013 at 8:01 AM

Sin tax error.

ZK on January 20, 2013 at 8:48 AM

You’re not really that dumb, are you?

98ZJUSMC on January 20, 2013 at 3:22 AM

We have had people on this site saying that we could get tax revenue from legalized pot, so yes, he’s probably really that dumb.

MelonCollie on January 20, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Jim-Tom, Tickle and Tim have taught the country how to avoid liquer taxes on “Moonshiners”. Rolling your own is a simple solution to cigarette taxes… you can even grow your own tobacco without much trouble. Boys in Afganistan can manufacture an AK47 using nothing but a hammer, file, hacksaw and drill…out of rusty lawnmower parts.

America can once again become a DIY society and cut out the middleman (nanny government).

joe btfsplk on January 20, 2013 at 9:49 AM

Get caught with a pack untaxed cigs, it goes on your record, and no gun for you!

forest on January 20, 2013 at 11:12 AM

Good example of why ending the so-called War on Drugs will not end criminality.

They will just find something else to steal or smuggle. What next, guns?

PattyJ on January 20, 2013 at 11:14 AM

Forget all Drama Obama……look at THIS!!!,0,764459.story

An Arizona man with a special fondness for caped crusader Batman and his sidekick Robin bought the original Batmobile driven in the iconic television series with a bid of $4.2 million at an auction on Saturday.

Rick Champagne, a Phoenix-area logistics company owner, came away with the black, futuristic two-seater featured in the “Batman” series starring Adam West and Burt Ward from 1966 to 1968, following a flurry of spirited bidding at the Scottsdale, Arizona, auction.

“I really liked Batman growing up and I came here with the intention of buying the car,” Champagne, 56, told Reuters in a brief interview moments after he bought the car. “Sure enough, I was able to buy it. That was a dream come true.”

The Barrett-Jackson auction was the first time the car was put up for public sale. In addition to the $4.2 million bid price, the buyer will have to pay an additional roughly $420,000 in premiums.

The Batmobile is based on a 1955 Lincoln Futura, a concept car built in Italy by the Ford Motor Co.

In 1965, the concept car was bought for a nominal $1 by noted customizer George Barris, who had a mere 15 days and $15,000 to transform the vehicle for the show. He has owned it ever since.

Barris told Reuters he had supplied vehicles for movies and television shows before, but this one had to be markedly different than the others.

“With every pow, bang, wow, wee, I wanted the car to do something just like the actors,” said Barris, 87, in an interview before the auction. “The car had to be a star on its own. And it became one.”

The car has a V-8 engine and instruments in the steering wheel, plus innovative items like a push-button transmission.

But generations may remember it best for Bat gadgets added for the series, including a car phone and the ability to deploy such things as oil, smoke and nails to thwart villains – not to mention twin rear parachutes for quick Bat turns.

Barris said the vehicle toured the country after the series and a movie and then was housed in a private showroom in California. He said it was time to part with the popular car and let a new owner have the Bat keys.

PappyD61 on January 20, 2013 at 11:25 AM

PappyD61 on January 20, 2013 at 11:25 AM

Yeah, it was an awesome lineup last night. I don’t think anyone really needs any thing that expensive though. The government should take them and put them to better use.

forest on January 20, 2013 at 11:42 AM

WE roll our own with an electric ($80.00) roller.
It costs us a whopping SEVENTY FIVE CENTS ($0.75) per pack.
Cry me a river. Ya either get creative, quit, or continue to feed the TAXMAN!

Karl Magnus on January 20, 2013 at 12:08 PM

So now buying something in a low tax state and bringing it back to a high tax state and using it there is “smuggling”?

It is only “smuggling”, using the term very loosely, if resold for profit in the higher tax state. Anything else is not “smuggling”.

Can there really be “smuggling” of anything between two states that is legal to sell and use in both states?

Seems libs and lefties only recognize States’ Rights when it involves lost tax revenue.

farsighted on January 20, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Let’s tax cigarettes to the point that the mafia now has a lucrative new business! What could go wrong!

Liberal logic. Heh.

baldylox on January 20, 2013 at 12:58 PM

And I could almost guarantee you that the police have their hand in this racket.

djaymick on January 20, 2013 at 1:19 PM

It’s a game. Raise taxes and ignore actual revenue, and use the “projected revenues” to balance budgets and claim that boondoggles are funded. Then when they aren’t, blame the other party or something else, raise the taxes again, rinse, repeat.

The initial idea that the funds were there and paid for goes into the echo chamber and sticks, especially when the Dems do this because the LSM will cover for them and ignore budget shortfalls.

Also, something like cigarettes are fair game as our country has become increasing yuppified so punishing the evil smokers is some kind of moral imperative and for the public good.

Oh, and smoking is bad for the children…even if you don’t have any or don’t even smoke around any.

Of course kids themselves will smoke dandelions if that’s all that’s around, but that’s beside the point.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 20, 2013 at 1:24 PM

Eventually the revenue loss will be great enough for the states to justify the placement of manned border crossings around the reservations. Searching vehicles for “contraband”. Vehicle searches can be pinpointed by the use of Drones to monitor which vehicles stop at the reservation package stores. As Mass. is attempting to do with those shopping in New Hampshire.

Zaire67 on January 20, 2013 at 1:45 PM

You’re not really that dumb, are you?

98ZJUSMC on January 20, 2013 at 3:22 AM

Don’t read this. Might bust your ” who’s dumb” bubble.

avagreen on January 20, 2013 at 1:52 PM

It’s the same in Chicago. People drive to Indiana or Wisconsin to stock up on cigarettes.

bw222 on January 20, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Let’s tax cigarettes to the point that the mafia now has a lucrative new business! What could go wrong!

Liberal logic. Heh.

baldylox on January 20, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Actually, it was hezbollah and the islamist terror orgs that were making some good bucks smuggling cigarettes. Win-win for the Indonesian Dog-Eater and his America-hating supporters!

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on January 20, 2013 at 3:02 PM

My sister is a cancer doctor – she nukes people for a living. She has always said that the smokers funded her early retirement. She thinks between 35% and 40% of her patients are directly attributed to tobacco consumption. She said the throat cancers are the nastiest and hardest cancers to treat She supports high tobacco taxes to deter younger people from smoking (thinking they are more price sensitive).

Smoking is one vice that never tempted me, not once. But then again neither has illegal drugs or getting drunk. My vice would be a full appreciation for food!!

karenhasfreedom on January 20, 2013 at 4:56 PM

I quit smoking t years ago and one of the incentives was the politicians talking about raising the taxes on cigarettes again, I sat back and said, “That’s one tax I don’t have to pay.” Everytime I watch these politicians raising the tax again I keep thinking of the people they’re forcing to pay these taxes and it’s just a shame. Some are smoking the cigars that look like cigarettes, so are smoking the generic cigarettes, which have to have a lot more filler in them that the standard brands, and others just find a way to buy cheap ones. Many of the people who smoke are not in the top 1%, or even the top 10%, but Obama and company love to sock it to them.

As an ex smoker, I’d love to know what these politicians used to do with all the tax money I paid. They keep on needing it for this and for that, what did they do when they weren’t accountable for it. I don’t know of R.J. Reynolds still has it up on their site but they used to have a chart of how much states collected in cigarette taxes. Many would be shocked if they knew how much money the states were taking in and how little money they actually had to pay out for treating smokers.

bflat879 on January 20, 2013 at 5:12 PM

The solution is simple. Institute a Federal Cigarette tax that is refunded to the States through Obamacare. Once everyone is paying the same tax in every state, there is no avoiding it. /s

weaselyone on January 21, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Maine license plates so they could be nabbed when they crossed back into Maine @ the tollbooth

And what law were the “smugglers” breaking in Maine? I see the cops breaking the 4th and 5th amendments. Is it a crime in ME to save a few bucks…or a crime to cross the border looking for a deal?

The cops have no permission to search a car unless they suspect a crime has been committed…probable cause, right?

If so everybody in NY should be in jail for going into NJ to buy everything in NJ’s tax free and reduced tax zones set up to entice more buyers to NJ….and prevent NY from sucking their paychecks dry.

Know your RIGHTS people.

Twana on January 21, 2013 at 5:01 PM