ALBANY, NY -- New York lawmakers have passed a budget bill that imposes an estimated $1 billion hike in taxes and fees on the state's residents, including a hefty cigarette tax that went into effect July 1. The budget measure's increase of $1.60 a pack in the state cigarette tax brings the total to $4.35 -- breaking the record $3.46 per pack record previously held by Rhode Island, and raising the average price of a pack to $9.20.
Four other states raised cigarette taxes on July 1. They are: Hawaii, up 40¢ to $3 in total tax per pack; New Mexico, 75¢ to $1.66 a pack; South Carolina, 50¢ to 57¢ a pack; and Utah, $1 to $1.70 a pack. On May 1, Washington increased its cigarette tax $1 to $3.025 a pack.
Fortunately for full-line vending operators, New York's budget bill does not include the 1¢-per-fl.oz. tax on sugar-sweetened soft drinks proposed by Gov. David Paterson (and endorsed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg).
That proposal provoked fierce opposition from labor and industry groups, including the New York State Automatic Vending Association, and sparked rallies here to protest a measure that opponents said would cost jobs and impose an undue burden on the average family.
New Tobacco Rules Kick In
On June 22, 2009, the President signed the law that gives the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco, and its one-year anniversary last week marked the start of a number of provisions in the law. The Tobacco Control Act, designed to keep cigarettes out of the hands of kids, gave the FDA regulatory control of tobacco products. The law immediately banned candy- and fruit-flavored tobacco products; required tobacco companies to register their facilities and provide the FDA with a detailed list of all product ingredients; and banned the use of the terms "light," "mild" and "low-tar" from tobacco labeling and marketing. The law does not permit the agency to ban all tobacco sales out of hand, nor does it allow it to limit nicotine content to zero. The new rules restrict vending machines and self-service displays to adult-only facilities.