September 18, 2006

Jacobs & Majority Members Consider County Cigarette Tax to raise revenues

Could bring in $70M a year!

Nassau County Presiding Officer Judy Jacobs (Woodbury), Legislator Lisanne Altmann (D-Great Neck) and majority members are investigating the possibility of raising revenue for the county with a County cigarette tax. Jacobs has asked county executives from all 56 counties in the state to join with Nassau County in supporting this initiative. This initiative would require state legislation. According to Jacobs and the Office of Legislative Budget Review, a county cigarette tax of $1 could bring from $50- $70 million in tax revenue into the county’s coffers.

“Despite the fact that Nassau County is on good financial footing, our revenues still can’t keep pace with our growing, state-mandated expenditures and unfair school aid funding. That’s why we need to look for creative and acceptable ways to raise more revenue that won’t be too onerous on the residents of Nassau County.” said Jacobs. “We believe a county tax on cigarettes would accomplish that.”

Legislator Altmann stated, “As legislators, we need to be creative in searching for new revenue streams that will help taxpayers, not hurt them. We have spent the past five years looking under every rock for savings, but it’s time for instituting long-term changes into the future.”

Jacobs and Altmann agree that part of the proceeds from the tax could be used as a dedicated revenue stream for the Nassau University Medical Center and other health and public safety-related issues.

If approved by Albany lawmakers and the county legislature, a cigarette tax couldn’t go into effect until 2008.