Tag Archives: tobacco

“New York Creates Massive Cigarette Black Market, Wants Virginia to Fix It”

This J.D. Tuccille piece at Reason has a familiar feel, given the bid by some of our own lawmakers here in Maryland to increase cigarette smuggling, and give crime gangs a giant new source of revenue, by raising tobacco taxes further toward New York levels, and far above the levels charged a half-hour’s drive to the south. Earlier here and here.

More: Village Voice longform (“Smuggled, Untaxed Cigarettes Are Everywhere in New York City”)

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Filed under Policy

Loosie in the streets, with patdowns

In a Saturday editorial, the Washington Post calls for further hiking Maryland’s tobacco tax so as to push the state’s smuggled-cigarettes rate, currently around 20%, closer to New York state’s Bloomberg-influenced, nation-leading 57%. The New York policy has proved a highly effective way to bring petty and not-always-so-petty crime to New Yorkers’ everyday lives. With I-95, I-70 and other corridors, Maryland is already one of the most accessible states for contraband smugglers, and if the Post has its way organized gangs on the streets of Baltimore stand to get their hands on a new cash engine that, as one Brooklyn distributor is said to have boasted on wiretap, is “better than selling drugs.” What could go wrong?

P.S. The Post’s editorial never even mentions smuggling or evasion of the law, let alone bring up the Eric Garner case in Staten Island, although the Post’s own news analysts and opinion writers have repeatedly explored the role of taxes in that case. Is it too much to ask of the Post editorialists that they keep up with their own paper? [rewritten and expanded; cross-posted at Cato at Liberty]


Filed under Media criticism, Policy