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NY Tobacconists vs. Cigar Tax Hike, Round Two

Members of the New York Tobacconist's Association are heading to Albany tomorrow to fight the 90 percent cigar tax being proposed in Gov. David Paterson's latest budget, and they have legislative support.

Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr., has written a letter to Sen. John Sampson on behalf of the Empire State's cigar shop owners.

In the note, Sen. Espada Jr. argues that raising the tax on Other Tobacco Products, which includes premium cigars, will not raise any additional tax revenue to close the state's $9 billion budget gap.

"Our conference cannot levy a punitive tax and put the weight on the back of our state's hard-working small-business owners," wrote the senator.

The letter also states that the proposed tax hike will put cigar shops out of business, and encourage consumers to shop on the Internet.

The NYTA already traveled to Albany earlier in May to protest the cigar tax. In addition to attaining legislative support, the NYTA has also been collecting signatures for a petition.