New York Should Reject a Tobacco Tax Increase | Citizens Against Government Waste

New York Should Reject a Tobacco Tax Increase

The WasteWatcher

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) proposed budget is full of bad ideas.  She is not only asking the state legislature to ban flavored tobacco, but also to increase taxes on tobacco products.  These proposals will not have the intended impact of reducing smoking.

As Citizens Against Government Waste has noted, New York currently has the highest tobacco tax rates in the nation.  Under current law, certain tobacco products include a 75 percent tax on their value.  Two pieces of legislation, A 86 and S 2425, aim to increase the tax to 129 percent.

Efforts to legislate tobacco harm reduction products through sin taxes have failed in numerous states.  For instance, after neighboring Massachusetts implemented a ban on flavored tobacco products, the Tax Foundation found that nearby states experienced significant growth in flavored tobacco sales.  The ban led to an increase in tax revenue in neighboring states and a reduction in revenue in the Bay State.  The Tax Foundation noted that Massachusetts taxpayers were “stuck with the costs associated with consumption,” while other states profited.  This should serve as a warning to New York lawmakers who believe that increased tobacco taxes will result in increased revenue and have a positive impact on the state’s finances.

The two bills to raise tobacco taxes will result in New York residents buying products in other states or in a dangerous black market.  As a result, New York will not only fail to generate the expected revenue from the tax, but also fail to prevent residents from smoking.

Like her efforts to ban flavored tobacco, Governor Hochul’s regressive plan to raise tobacco taxes will only alienate constituents who choose to purchase tobacco products.  Given her persistent dedication to forcing her views on New Yorkers through government edicts, it comes as no surprise that residents continue to flee the Empire State in droves.