$1 Cigarette Tax Could Snuff Out Budget Gap

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    Smoking may be bad for your health, but it could be great for New York bottom line.

    The state Assembly is considering  a dollar tax increase on cigarettes to close the ever-widening budget gap.

    The move would bring the total tax on a pack of cigarettes to $3.75, a national high, and raise more than $200 million dollars in revenue.

    It's one proposal among many, that lawmakers will meet in Albany today to discuss.

    Also on the table is a restoration of about $600 million dollars of the $1.1 billion dollars in school cuts that Governor Paterson recently proposed.

    New York State would also borrow up to $2 billion dollars  to ease the looming budget shortfall.

    The  proposed ban on sugary drinks has already been rejected by lawmakers as a revenue source.

    "We're a conference committed to education even in this difficult year," said  Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

    Governor Paterson is not supportive of the Senate's plans vowing to make big cuts to short term budget extensions if lawmakers miss the state's April 1 budget deadline.