Gov. Paterson Puts Cigarette Taxes in Budget Extender

Albany, NY – Governor David Paterson will put new cigarette taxes and taxes on
other tobacco products, as well as order the collection of taxes on
some cigarettes sold on Indian lands, as part of his latest budget
extender, due to be voted on Monday.

Paterson's budget director, Robert Megna says the governor will ask
the legislature to raise the tax on cigarettes by another $1.60 per
pack, and ask for authorization to collect taxes on cigarettes sold
to non Indians on Indian lands, valued at around $150 million
dollars, for a total of $440 million dollars in additional revenue to
close the state's budget gap.

Megna says the new taxes have a two fold purpose. The first, is for
health reasons.

"We want people to stop using them, so increasing the price hopefully
gets people to stop using the products," said Megna. "An added
benefit to that is that we raise revenue."

The governor's budget director says the new tax monies will help
offset the cost of health care programs.

Megna says he does not expect violence to occur on tribal lands, over
the controversial tax collections. He also predicts the legislature
will vote for the new taxes rather than allow a government shut down.
Senate Republicans have said they won't vote for any new taxes, so it
may be up to the slim democratic Majority in the State Senate to
carry the vote.