New York Tobacco Sellers

Published on March 29th, 2010 11:24

The State of New York gained its reputations of the most vocal and ardent opponent of tobacco industry. It is home to the highest tobacco taxes and strictest anti-smoking policies across the nation. Currently, local officials are seeking to make the life of tobacco consumers and tobacco retailers even more difficult by implementing a ban on all flavored tobacco products. However, there is a ray of hope for small shops selling tobacco, given by a NYS court.

Two weeks ago, Thomas Feinman, a New York State Supreme Court Judge confirmed an augmentation in the retailer tobacco products seller registration payment introduced by Gov. Paterson and adopted by the Assembly in 2009. In conformity with the legislation, convenience store owners who earlier bought tobacco licenses for $100 each year, this year would have to pay a fee varying from $1,000 to $5,000 per store annually, according to the annual sales volume.

The New York Association of Convenience Stores was shocked by the fees, stating that an increase of a 900-percent to 4,900-percent is simply crushing and unbearable, and admitted they would keep the legal fight against the hike.

On March 19, the retailers got a major victory, when the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining injunction putting a hold on the larger-than-life hike in the fees the convenience store owners had to pay, announced the Association spokesman.

In accordance with the hike in the tobacco seller registration fee, nearly 25,000 local tobacco sellers, who previously purchased licenses for $100 per year, would now pay fees from $1,000 to $5,000 annually per store based on the total annual sales turnover.

tobacco sale

Five trade associations filed a lawsuit contesting the increase, and Supreme Court Judge Feinman had agreed with the retailers restoring a temporary injunction last October. The decision was pending in the court for a more durable suspension. However, two weeks ago the Judge stated that the plaintiff had no sufficient “standing” to challenge the measure, turning down the motion and issuing the new schedule for the fees.

The trade groups instantly appealed the ruling, and on March 19, Appellate Division Judge John Leventhal put a hold on the Supreme Court decision, and issued a restraining order. The next hearing on the case is scheduled for March 31, while the process could last for up to seven weeks. According to the state court hierarchy, the Appellate Division is higher then the Supreme Court, with the Court of Appeals being the highest level.

NYACS chairman James Calvin declared that the Appellate Division ruling means the sellers don’t have to pay the new high fees to the Tax Department, until the legal proceeding are not finished. He added the retailers should not be misled by the Tax Department officials into paying more then $100.

At the same time, the NYACS will keep attempting to convince the state Assembly to adopt lower fees, according to the proposal by Senator William Stachowski. Under the proposal the registration fee will be increased to $200 -$400.

By Kevin Lawson, Staff Writer. Copyright © 2010 All rights reserved.

Related tags: tobacco strategies | tobacco maket | cigarette seller | new york

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