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    More N.Y. Taxes?

    Nassau County seeks its own $1.50 tax on cigarettes.

    FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- As negotiations over the state budget draw to a close, Nassau County is making a last-minute effort to persuade state legislators to allow the county to establish its own $1.50-per-pack cigarette tax.

    Under the plan pushed by County Executive Thomas Suozzi, the tax in cash-strapped Nassau would rise to the amount New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to impose. Nassau would take half the revenue, which could amount to $8 million a year, with the state getting the rest, Newsday reported.

    Currently, there is no county tax on Nassau cigarette sales. Gov. George Pataki and legislative leaders have tentatively agreed to let New York City raise its tax from 8 cents to $1.50 a pack to help deal with the city's financial problems after Sept. 11.

    The local tax maneuvers come just a month after the state increased its own tax from $1.11 to $1.50 a pack, ranking it the highest state-levied cigarette tax in the country. The federal tax on cigarettes rose from 32 cents to 37 cents a pack Jan. 1.

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