New York has a new budget:
After reaching an agreement late Tuesday with Gov. David A. Paterson on the last unresolved pieces of the state budget, the Legislature passed the bills on Wednesday that will complete New York’s $122 billion spending plan for the next year.
The new budget, which relies on an array of taxes and fees for smokers, banks, hair salon patrons and others to keep the state’s 200,000-person government running, comes as New York faces one of the most uncertain economic outlooks in recent years.
Among the taxes and fees New Yorkers will have to pay are a $1.25 increase in the state cigarette tax. The new budget also closes a loophole in the state’s tax law that allowed online retailers like Amazon.com to avoid charging New York State sales tax on purchases.
A plan to raise income taxes on New Yorkers who earn more than $1 million a year was not included.
Millions of dollars worth of counterfeit tax stamps were seized and a Jordanian man arrested as part of a major undercover investigation into tobacco smuggling in New York, authorities announced Wednesday.
The arrest comes as some authorities voice concern about whether New York state’s planned $1.25-per-pack hike in tobacco taxes, taking the price of a pack in the city to about $9, will fuel demand for contraband cigarettes.
Health surveys have found that more than a third of New York state smokers already regularly buy cigarettes from untaxed sources.
State Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner Robert L. Megna said his agency has stepped up its campaign against contraband cigarette trafficking over the past year.
Stupid is as stupid does.