Paterson Proposes Additional $1.60 to the Cost of Pack of Cigarettes

Under a plan to close the budget gap that was advanced by Gov. David A. Paterson on Friday evening, an additional $1.60 will be added to the cost of a pack of cigarettes and tobacco taxes, will be collected from Indian tribes. Legislation will be submitted by Mr. Paterson to lawmakers, under which the state's cigarette tax will be raised by 60 cents a pack more than the increase, previously considered.

If the legislation is passed, smokers in New York City would have to pay nearly $7 in taxes for a pack. According to the advocacy group Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the average price for a pack of cigarettes for the country as a whole, including taxes is $5.29.

The tax on smokeless tobacco is proposed to be doubled to $2 an ounce, by the Governor. The tobacco-tax measures in total would generate $440 million this year, according to the tax officials.

The wholesale retailers will be forced to stamp taxes on cigarettes sold to sovereign Indian reservations under Mr. Paterson's plan. The state would begin enforcing the collections in September.

Former Gov., George E. Pataki's ordered to collect taxes from the tribes in 1997. The tribes have indulged in brutal clashes between Indians and state troopers on the state thruway. Since 1997, Albany has revisited the issue on an annual basis, but that has been of no advantage.