Wholesalers to file suit seeking elimination of cigarette tax hike
NEW YORK (AP) _ A tobacco group was expected to file a lawsuit on Tuesday seeking the elimination of cigarette tax increases in the city, a published report said.
The state Association of Tobacco and Candy Wholesalers argues in the lawsuit, to be filed in Manhattan's State Supreme Court, that the recent tax increases imposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg will cost the city and state more than $200 million in taxes this fiscal year, the Daily News reported Tuesday.
The wholesalers claim that the tax hikes have led many smokers to purchase cigarettes on the Internet or on the black market, putting licensed tobacco vendors at a disadvantage.
"The increases are unconstitutional because it's an attempt by Mayor Bloomberg to selectively rule an industry for a social agenda, to eliminate smoking," Ronald Warfield, the tobacco group's lawyer, told the Daily News.
A few months after he took office, Bloomberg pushed through a cigarette tax hike that brought the cost of a pack of smokes to more than $7.50.
A spokesman for Bloomberg did not immediately return a call for comment.