Something for those who think that tax rates don't alter behavior
. . . The Tax Foundation said that 60.9% of cigarettes sold in New York State are smuggled in from other states.This makes New York the biggest importer of black market cigarettes, along with the state's highest tax rate of $4.35 per pack. That's compared to Missouri, the state with the lowest rate, of 17 cents per pack.
In New York City the tax rate is even higher, adding another $1.50 per pack to the state rate. It's not uncommon for smokers to pay $12 for a pack.
The report said that tobacco smuggling and the tax rate have risen practically in tandem since 2006. The New York State tax on cigarettes has risen 190% since that time, as the rate of smuggling increased 170%.
This bears out a report issued last month by the New York Association of Convenience Stores, estimating that "chronic cigarette-tax evasion" deprives the state of at least $1.7 billion in tax revenue and 6,700 jobs.
. . . the smuggling takes place in various forms. In many cases, the smugglers physically transport the cigarettes into New York from nearby states with much lower tax rates, such as Virginia, a longtime tobacco producer with a rate of 30 cents per pack. The smugglers will often use counterfeit tax stamps to conceal the illegal nature of their wares. . . .