Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Business is 'smoking' in Vermont

I've been lazy about posting updates on the blog lately -- I'll blame it on the beautiful weather we've been graced with over the last few weeks (really, who wants to blog when it's 90 degrees and sunny?).

I stumbled across this Associated Press report this morning:

"Vermont store owners near the New York border say they’re selling more cigarettes to Empire State residents seeking to avoid that state’s higher tobacco tax.

"Dana Franklin of the West Addison General Store says sales have gone up since July 1, when New York increased its cigarette tax by $1.60 per pack.

"People who buy cigarettes in New York now pay $4.35 a pack in taxes. In Vermont the tax is $2.24.

"Franklin tells the Burlington Free Press cigarette sales also increased several years ago after New York increased its tax, but they later fell back after Vermont’s tax increased.

"And convenience stores operators in border towns say they also benefit from increased gasoline sales because gas is less expensive in Vermont than New York."

A cynic could read that brief like this: New York is sending consumers across the border to Vermont to spend their dollars.

What do you think? Is it sound fiscal policy to be forcing smokers to spend their money elsewhere? It would be interesting to compare the tax revenue raised by New York to the dollars lost through the tax hike.

No comments:

Post a Comment