Philadelphia mayor prepares to fund Russian mob with new cigarette tax

posted at 8:01 am on August 21, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

Sure, it’s one of those titles that makes you say, hmmm. But there’s something interesting happening in the City of Brotherly Love this summer and the forecast seems to spell trouble. The Mayor of Philadelphia is looking at budget shortfalls, like many other big, Northeastern cities, and is particularly concerned about covering the school budget. Apparently unaware of the dismal results other metropolitan areas have obtained with similar schemes, the mayor has listened to the siren songs and is trying to get a cigarette tax put in place, you know… for the children. (In case you’re wondering why I didn’t mention the mayor by name up to this point, for those of you not familiar with Philly politics I thought I’d let you experience it in this oh so appropriate article title.

Nutter Happy To See Schools Opening But Presses Pa. Legislature For Action

Mayor Nutter says he is relieved that Philadelphia public schools will open on time this fall, but he is repeating his call on state lawmakers to quickly approve the cigarette-tax bailout plan.

The mayor found little to smile about in the superintendent’s announcement, despite the fact that schools will open on time. That’s because the interim cuts imposed now by Hite will, in Nutter’s view, affect learning…

And the mayor says the superintendent’s decision doesn’t change the far larger question: whether and when Harrisburg will approve a cigarette surtax for Philadelphia.

“The bottom, bottom line of all of this is we still need the General Assembly to pass, finally, a cigarette tax-authorizing piece of legislation (and) get it to the governor’s desk as quickly as possible,” Nutter said.

Apparently Mayor Nutter hasn’t been listening to some of the experts who have been asked to weigh in on the proposal. And by experts, I include someone who is a former assistant director of the ATF.

A former assistant director of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms says if state lawmakers approve a new cigarette tax for Philadelphia, smuggling could become a problem.

Richard Marianos worked for more than twenty years on investigations of gangs and firearm trafficking operations, among other things.

He believes that if lawmakers approve a $2 per pack tax as proposed, criminals will see an opportunity to sell cigarettes illegally on the streets.

“They’re being sold on the black market to avoid taxes or they’re being sold on the black market to increase more criminal revenue and support more parts of a criminal organization.”

Marianos isn’t exactly new to the dance when it comes to this question, specifically in the area most affected. He’s studies the effect such unbalanced tax policy has had in the tri-state area, particularly right over the river in New Jersey.

“That means states like New Jersey are being robbed of taxes that could go to law enforcement, schools, emergency services, vital things that we use every day as taxpayers,” Marianos said.

He stressed black market tobacco smuggling has become “a high-profit, low-risk criminal enterprise. Compared to drug offenses where there’s a mandatory minimum sentence, there’s no penalties out there for the cigarette trafficker.”

So where are these cigarettes being sold?

“They’re being sold in the bodegas, in the convenience stores, they’re being sold on the street, they’re being sold in the housing projects,” Marianos said, “by street gangs like the Latin Kings, terrorist organizations, the Russian Mafia.”

See? You knew we were going to get back to the Russian mafia (*1) before this was over, right?

But seriously, how many times are we going to have to see this story play out where tax happy liberals think they can solve all their problems by bringing down the hammer with more unproductive sin taxes? It’s happened in New York and in New Jersey and in Maryland and in Chicago. It never ends well, and yet they keep thinking that somehow it will be different this time. Don’t the cops and federal agents in Philadelphia have enough on their plates already without dangling this sort of low hanging fruit in front of wannabe criminals?

*1 – DISCLAIMER: Just to be perfectly clear, we’re talking about the Russian mafia here. I wouldn’t want this to be misinterpreted as my giving credence to any unfair rumors about the existence of a mafia run by, say, Italians, either here in New York, or in the Garden State. All the Italians I know are decent, honest, hardworking people who would never be involved in such activities. Perhaps I should repeat that, particularly for the Five Boroughs and New Jersey. DECENT. HONEST. HARDWORKING. ITALIANS. (So… we cool?)


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Nutter!

Resist We Much on August 21, 2014 at 8:07 AM

Get Allah to start your car for you.

katy the mean old lady on August 21, 2014 at 8:07 AM

Could be worse. When I was a kid living near Philly, the mayor at the time, Wilson Goode, literally had a bomb dropped on an inhabited building in his city. A group of black radicals had a concrete bunker on the roof and were shooting at police. The Mayor didn’t mess around with SWAT, he had someone drop a satchel charge with 10 lbs. of C4 out of a helicopter. It certainly took out the criminals. And their children. The resulting fire destroyed a few blocks. In the annals of Philadelphia official stupidity, a moronic taxation plan wouldn’t even rate an honorable mention.

bittergeek on August 21, 2014 at 8:12 AM

“That means states like New Jersey are being robbed of taxes that could go to law enforcement, schools, emergency services, vital things that we use every day as taxpayers,” Marianos said.

Note that mind set.

The state owns everything I guess.

FOWG1 on August 21, 2014 at 8:14 AM

LOL. The crooks in Chicago and C(r)ook County did that. People just go to Indiana and/or Wisconsin for their smokes. They buy them by the carton.

Last time I noticed, a pack of brand name smokes costs $11+ a pack.

BobK on August 21, 2014 at 8:14 AM

I don’t see how any of these cities could survive if they weren’t getting money from the rest of the state. The whole idea behind tolling the interstate was to send more money to Philly.

Cut them off from the state. Turn then into their own little mini states and see how well they flourish. We’d never have another Democrat governor again if we could dump Philadelphia.

JellyToast on August 21, 2014 at 8:15 AM

They are and will continue to make the same mistake with marijuana too. And people will say – see, we legalized and it didn’t reduce crime.

rhombus on August 21, 2014 at 8:19 AM

We’d never have another Democrat governor again if we could dump Philadelphia.

JellyToast on August 21, 2014 at 8:15 AM

And New York City, and Boston, and Chicago… Country mouse don’t need no city mouse.

rhombus on August 21, 2014 at 8:20 AM

Cute column.

I live in the area, but I hadn’t seen Nutter’s name used this effectively.

talkingpoints on August 21, 2014 at 8:20 AM

Mayor Nutter is the most appropriate political name ever!

Happy Nomad on August 21, 2014 at 8:22 AM

On Staten Island, the influx of Brighton Beach (Russkie) crooks is driving the previous influx of Bensonhurst/Flatbush (Eyetaliano) crooks out of all the lucrative rackets.

Time to blow up the VZ Bridge.

TC@LeatherPenguin on August 21, 2014 at 8:22 AM

In the annals of Philadelphia official stupidity, a moronic taxation plan wouldn’t even rate an honorable mention.

bittergeek on August 21, 2014 at 8:12 AM

And then Goode gave the contract to rebuild the houses to an inexperienced minority contractor. A decade or so later, the work was found to be so shoddy and dangerous (wiring and such), that the new houses were not fit for human habitation.

Wethal on August 21, 2014 at 8:26 AM

All the Italians I know are decent, honest, hardworking people

Yeah, your people are better than everyone else, right?

el hombre on August 21, 2014 at 8:26 AM

The resulting fire destroyed a few blocks.

bittergeek on August 21, 2014 at 8:12 AM

I remember the MOVE bombing. Must have caused $30-$35 worth of damage to the neighborhood.

Happy Nomad on August 21, 2014 at 8:27 AM

for those of you not familiar with Philly politics I thought I’d let you experience it in this oh so appropriate article title.

Classic.

rogaineguy on August 21, 2014 at 8:29 AM

There is no other tax they dare raise. Raise business or wage taxes (wage tax = income tax on wages earned in City), and they lose more jobs. Raise property taxes, and people move to South Jersey or the PA suburbs. Raise taxes on drinks, hotels, etc., and the tourist/convention business suffers.

This mess is what comes of unionized public employees, particularly the teachers’ unions. Public schools are losing out to charter schools, and enrollment is declining due to declining birth rates. Most buildings are old. They did consolidate schools with low enrollments, and have been selling off the old buildings – but that is a one-time fix.

Wethal on August 21, 2014 at 8:33 AM

I get tired of the “for the children” gambit. I live in a state (Colorado) where every other tax and revenue enhancing legislation is “for the children.”

The money never trickles down to the classroom, not in any meaningful way. It all gets stuck in the union coffers, school administration budgets and pay raises to the upper echelons of the education system.

Even the teachers rarely see any of the money in the form of raises.

“For the children” my ass.

Walter L. Newton on August 21, 2014 at 8:34 AM

Could be worse. When I was a kid living near Philly, the mayor at the time, Wilson Goode, literally had a bomb dropped on an inhabited building in his city. A group of black radicals had a concrete bunker on the roof and were shooting at police. The Mayor didn’t mess around with SWAT, he had someone drop a satchel charge with 10 lbs. of C4 out of a helicopter. It certainly took out the criminals. And their children. The resulting fire destroyed a few blocks. In the annals of Philadelphia official stupidity, a moronic taxation plan wouldn’t even rate an honorable mention.

bittergeek on August 21, 2014 at 8:12 AM

Who could forget Ramona Africa?? One of the “leaders”.

The MOVE gang….

ToddPA on August 21, 2014 at 8:38 AM

Mayor Nutter Nuttier says he is relieved that Philadelphia public schools will open on time this fall, but he is repeating his call on state lawmakers to quickly approve the cigarette-tax bailout plan.

Fixed it

txdoc on August 21, 2014 at 8:38 AM

Could be worse. When I was a kid living near Philly, the mayor at the time, Wilson Goode, literally had a bomb dropped on an inhabited building in his city. A group of black radicals had a concrete bunker on the roof and were shooting at police.

bittergeek on August 21, 2014 at 8:12 AM

the fiery fruits of white oppression.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on August 21, 2014 at 8:47 AM

I remember the MOVE bombing. Must have caused $30-$35 worth of damage to the neighborhood.

Happy Nomad on August 21, 2014 at 8:27 AM

That, Sir, was hilarious!!!

Pale Rider on August 21, 2014 at 8:55 AM

So let’s see: either the Fascist-Democrats want to fund organized crime or they want people to use a product that is known to be hazardous to their health.

rbj on August 21, 2014 at 9:01 AM

So let me get this straight. Tax revenues are down because taxes are too high and people are either smoking less, getting their fix from a bordering state, or they are buying non-taxed product? Who could have seen this coming.

Isn’t that the intended purpose of a tax on ‘sin’? To get less of it?

If so, how and why would any state peg their finances for any infrastructure or emergency services to something that people don’t have to buy, or may reduce buying depending on any amount of variables?

Just insane.

Patriot Vet on August 21, 2014 at 9:02 AM

the fiery fruits of white oppression.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on August 21, 2014 at 8:47 AM

Sure. Wilson Goode was the first black mayor of Philly.

You’re not even a educated troll.

Walter L. Newton on August 21, 2014 at 9:04 AM

The MOVE gang…. ToddPA on August 21, 2014 at 8:38 AM

Yeah, one tenet of their faith was not bathing. They used to broadcast speeches from a megaphone on the roof of their house. There’s a Mumia connection too.

Akzed on August 21, 2014 at 9:11 AM

It already happens in Chitcago. Crooks drive own I-55 down to Paducah, KY (right across the Ohio River), where they leally buy the cigarettes, then drive back and sell them out in the streets. For the cost of a tank of gas, they can make thousands of dollars. Good luckhilly!/SARC

conservative hispanic on August 21, 2014 at 9:13 AM

Great. Nutter wants to underwrite Goodfellaskis.

BuckeyeSam on August 21, 2014 at 9:14 AM

The beauty of this is they don’t even have to go to NC.

DE is just south of Chester, with no sales tax and very low tobacco taxes.

The First State thanks you for your business…

JohnGalt23 on August 21, 2014 at 9:14 AM

I meant to say: Good luck, Philly!/SARC

conservative hispanic on August 21, 2014 at 9:14 AM

“They’re being sold in the bodegas, in the convenience stores, they’re being sold on the street, they’re being sold in the housing projects,” Marianos said, “by street gangs like the Latin Kings, terrorist organizations, the Russian Mafia.”

They are also being sold by average Americans to make a some bucks or save some bucks. While black market smuggling and sale of cigarettes has it’s organized crime element, it is still a noble activity which people should know was engaged in by many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Here’s to black market smuggling of cigarettes, but please make sure you buy cigarettes only from sources which have an otherwise ethical society mission statement.

Dusty on August 21, 2014 at 9:15 AM

Isn’t that the intended purpose of a tax on ‘sin’? To get less of it?

Patriot Vet on August 21, 2014 at 9:02 AM

that is the stated purpose, but the left never actually understands or believes that taxing something creates incentives or disincentives for behavior, which is why they are always surprised when behaviors change after a new tax or a raised tax.

Monkeytoe on August 21, 2014 at 9:16 AM

[bittergeek on August 21, 2014 at 8:12 AM]

Ha. I remember that.

Dusty on August 21, 2014 at 9:19 AM

I’m glad you specificaly pointed out that ALL Italians are honest, law abiding, caring, compassionate, wouldn’t harm a fly, valued citizens.
Otherwise, the dago mob might cut your throat, and your wifes, and your kids – mother – father – cousins – nieces – nephews – dogs – cats – and burn your house down.
Just to be on the safe side, you might play the Italian National anthem;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3RToBymttA

thelastminstrel on August 21, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Buy a ticket from me for the Italian National Lottery and all will be fine. Buy 100 of them just so I don’t go back on my promise for buying one ticket.

Walter L. Newton on August 21, 2014 at 9:49 AM

“That means states like New Jersey are being robbed of taxes

ROFLMAO! Jersey is “being robbed” of their insane and repulsive punitive taxes? Give me a break. This Marianos guy is a total douchebag.

BTW, the ones who make lots of money off of black market cigarettes are arabs and islamist crime rings. They’ve been doing it for many years. And the states bear responsibility for instituting these criminal tax levels (and they are criminal, no doubt about that) and, as you tried to state in the title, helping to fund the arab and islamist nutjobs.

And, these governments of little tyrants are not content with their highway robbery of cigarette taxes but, then, they ban smokers from lighting up anywhere. There’s a special place in hell reserved for these politicians and they should go there as soon as possible.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on August 21, 2014 at 9:51 AM

They never seem to consider the advantages of being the place that everyone wants to smuggle from.

ss396 on August 21, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Isn’t that the intended purpose of a tax on ‘sin’? To get less of it?

Patriot Vet on August 21, 2014 at 9:02 AM

No, darlin’, the taxes are meant to punish the bad people. With the added bonus that the bad people are actually addicted to the taxable substance, so they can’t avoid their punishment.

Neat and tidy, isn’t it?

The morality of the statist Left on display.

Dolce Far Niente on August 21, 2014 at 10:10 AM

Russian aid trucks with boxes of cigarettes are lining up on the New Jersey border.

Krupnikas on August 21, 2014 at 10:25 AM

With flaming assed liberals it’s always “things will be DIFFERENT, this time!”

GarandFan on August 21, 2014 at 10:33 AM

And you thisisyourbrainoncock are the fiery fruit of a forbidden love between brother and sister. You effing moron a black mayor bombed black folk. Shove your pathetic racist garbage up your ass.

bbinfl on August 21, 2014 at 10:35 AM

As a former Philly bartender, I can tell you that off-the-record cigarette sales are already a huge cash business in that city. Go to any bar in Fishtown or Front St. and you can buy packs from the bartender in cash. This is just going to up the revenues of dozens of “retailers” of North Carolina tobacco.

DarthBrooks on August 21, 2014 at 11:00 AM

God, I miss Frank Rizzo.

Nutter!

Resist We Much on August 21, 2014 at 8:07 AM

They don’t call him that for nothing.

the fiery fruits of white oppression.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on August 21, 2014 at 8:47 AM

And after Willie Wilson Goode (his real name BTW) came the Street brothers, a couple of community organizers who really loused up the city.

formwiz on August 21, 2014 at 11:04 AM

Just go to Broad and Olney Streets,it’s like Alices restaurant. You can get anything you want.

celtic warrior on August 21, 2014 at 11:36 AM

Who cares? There is little difference between the mafia and government anyway. Let the black market reign – it is the only true free market in this fascist police state.

earlgrey on August 21, 2014 at 11:43 AM

Philadelphia. I care not.

Carnac on August 21, 2014 at 11:46 AM

…and once again, this is lamest “conservative” ant-tax arument evah

So, if State A increases taxes on product P, then customers in A will get P from state B, and B will get more tax revenue on sales of P

solution : national sales tax on P, distributed by sales volume to the states

“conservative” idea for the win!

corona79 on August 21, 2014 at 12:42 PM

We were told for years to conserve water. They encouraged low flow showers and water saving toilets. Now we get charged extra on our water bill because we’re not consuming enough.

rhombus on August 21, 2014 at 12:43 PM

It’s happened in New York and in New Jersey and in Maryland and in Chicago. It never ends well.

It never ends well.

True enough Jazz Shaw. Why is it that RINOs like you are so hellbent on saving liberals from themselves?

FrankT on August 21, 2014 at 2:08 PM

Hope he’s ready for people to start moving from Philly, like they have other places that continually raise taxes (on anything).

sadatoni on August 22, 2014 at 7:11 AM