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NY Tobacconists Taking Tax Hike Fight to Albany

The New York Tobacconist's Association is gathering every New York cigar shop owner that it can and heading to Albany on May 11 to protest Gov. David Paterson's plan to raise cigar taxes to 90 percent of the wholesale price. It would be one of the highest taxes in the country.

"If you care about your businesses and want to remain in the tobacco business, we must go to Albany and to Albany we shall go," said Ron Melendi, president of the New York Tobacconist's Association, a gathering of cigar shops in the Empire State aimed at protecting the right to enjoy and sell fine, premium cigars.

The goal, he said, is to get face-to-face meetings with the politicians who would sign the legislation. "So they can see who they're about to basically put out of business," said Melendi. "Instead of getting a lawyer or a lobbyist, they get to hear from the professional tobacconists themselves…so they can see that they're affecting livelihoods."

The gathering is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Tuesday. To join the organization, or to get more information on how you can attend, email Melendi at: