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Little asks for refunds on big cigarette fees

September 25, 2009
By NATHAN BROWN, Enterprise Staff Writer

BLOOMINGDALE - The 2009-10 state budget increased the cost of a retail license to sell tobacco from $100 to $1,000, $2,500 or $5,000, depending on a retailer's gross sales.

Although a Long Island judge put a temporary restraining order on the collection of the new, higher fees last month, some stores had already submitted their 2010 license applications and paid the higher fees.

After being contacted by Norman's, a general store in Bloomingdale that had paid the $1,000 fee, state Sen. Betty Little wrote a letter to the state Tax Department Thursday asking that these retailers be refunded.

"If people overpaid, they should receive the overpayment back as expeditiously as possible," said Little spokesman Dan Mac Entee. "It's their money, not the state's."

Five groups, representing more than 10,000 retailers statewide, are co-plaintiffs in the suit against Gov. David Paterson, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Acting Tax Commissioner Jamie Woodward. State Supreme Court Judge Thomas Feinman, of Nassau County, imposed a temporary restraining order on collecting the new fees last week, pending a decision on a motion for a preliminary injunction.

The decision on the injunction is expected in December, Mac Entee said. If the court rules in the state's favor, retailers will have to pay the higher fees for their 2010 and future applications.

Little voted against the 2009-10 state budget, as did area assemblywomen Janet Duprey, R-Peru, Dede Scozzafava, R-Gouverneur and Teresa Sayward, R-Willsboro.



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