Jan. 25, 2010

Paterson's new cigarette, sugared drink taxes could affect Elmira residents' spending habits

As part of his budget plan, Gov. David Paterson wants to increase the tax on a pack of cigarettes by $1 and add a penny tax per fluid ounce of sugared drinks.
Local residents spending part of Saturday afternoon in downtown Elmira expressed mixed reactions to the governor's plan.
Some, like Peter Recktenwald, admit that the increase could coax them to change their consumer habits.
Recktenwald, who recently moved to Elmira, said he has already experienced higher taxes at his new home, and he intends to buy less sugared beverages and quit smoking as a result of the plan.
The taxes will only hurt the poor, he said, explaining that those who can still afford the products will continue to buy just as much.
Among those who would be unaffected by the new taxes is Matt Bryant, who said any increase in cost won't change his buying habits for soft drinks.
Bryant quit smoking a few months ago, just in time to escape the proposed tax hike on cigarettes.
Non-smokers Mike and Sue Harris also said the taxes wouldn't affect their buying habits, but added that they don't purchase enough sugared drinks to notice the change.