SHAME: $2.5 Billion in Cigarette Taxes is Lost Each Year to Corruption

New York State & City have the highest cigarette taxes in the country, but our Tax Department collects far less of what is due than any other state: WHY?

There are 9,300 licensed retailers in NYC and most are selling untaxed contraband in violation of law unencumbered by any tax enforcement from Albany.

Under past administrations our tax enforcement units conducted regular inspection programs at our retail and wholesale licensed sellers to ensure untaxed product was not sold. Inspections have all but discontinued: WHY?

Over 60% of cigarette consumption in NY and over 80% in NYC is untaxed: WHY?

New York has become ground zero for the funding of terrorism through the hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal profits that have been made by bootlegging untaxed product into NY and distributed, uncontrolled to complicit retailers: WHY?

We tax cigarettes heavily for needed revenue and to discourage smoking and its attendant health costs. Yet we allow most New Yorkers to buy cheap untaxed smokes, decreasing state revenues and increasing smoking rates, but our health officials do not petition the state for enforcement: WHY?

Honest retailers cannot compete; honest wholesalers and licensed tax agents have gone out of business and the state has lost commerce and thousands of jobs: WHY?

High levels of taxation and high levels of enforcement must go hand and hand. Yet, under the authority of our governor, the tax department boldly announces several interdictions of hundreds of cartons of cigarettes per year, while over 30 million cartons come into NY untaxed feeding criminals during the same time: WHY?

This policy of non-enforcement must stop! Retailers have come to understand that revocation of a cigarette license is not a threat when, for their contraband purchases, it only attracts scrutiny. The law provides for the revocation of Lotto and Beer licenses for the conviction of violations of cigarette taxes. WHY NOT?

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