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Chigago area county to raise taxes on cigarettes to $2 per pack

From the Chicago Tribune - February 10, 2006

The commissioners of Cook County today voted 10-7 to increase the tax on a pack of cigarettes by $1 to $2 per pack. The tax will go into effect on 1 March, 2006. The increase is expected to bring in an additional $70 million. This additional income is expect to cover 2.2% of the $3.1 billion budget.

The Tribune also noted that this is the second time in the last three budget cycles that cigarette taxes went up. In 2004, the commission added 82 cents to bring the tax to an even $1 per pack.

Senecas react to Schumer bill

From Business First in New York - March 12, 2006

United States Sen. Charles Schumer said he will file a bill in Washington to ban the shipment of cigarettes and other tobacco products through the U.S. Mail.

The democratic senator said he collaborated on the measure with state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. The two Democratic officials said the legislation would close a current loophole in the law that is allowing the illegal shipment of tobacco products to continue.

Barry Snyder Sr., president of the Seneca Nation of Indians, criticized the legislation that he says would impact many members of the tribe.

"That Attorney General Spitzer and Sen. Schumer would call Senecas who sell cigarettes as being part of a 'massive criminal enterprise' is to malign the entire Seneca Nation and its people," Snyder said. "The only way legislation such as this can be enforced is if Senecas are denied the ability to ship packages through the mail, presumably on the basis of our 'looks.'"

Pols fume as cig tax is ignored

From The New York Daily News - March 19, 2006

The Pataki administration is refusing to enforce a new law that effectively shuts down the lucrative sale of untaxed cigarettes by the state's Native American tribes - costing the city and state $500 million this year.

The state is in delicate negotiations with the tribes, led by the Seneca nation, over its land claims and the proposed construction of casinos upstate..

State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno and Assemblyman Pete Grannis are demanding Pataki enforce the law.

"The administration is being a scofflaw on carrying out the law that we're emphatically arguing should be enforced," said Grannis (D-Manhattan). "There are hundreds of millions of dollars at stake."

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