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Gov. George Pataki wants to raise the tax on a pack of cigarettes by more than 50 cents to discourage people from smoking. I am not a smoker, but this proposal won't work. First, people will get cigarettes any way they can. The Indian vendors will make a fortune on the stupidity of the governor. This plan will work as well as prohibition did. Second, as I understand the tobacco settlement, the money was to be used for health-care and smoking-prevention programs. The money should be used to keep hospitals open and health-care workers employed.

It's no wonder people leave New York State to find work. It's not just taxes, it's also the attitude of the elected elite officials who vote themselves huge pay increases and cut funding to schools and county governments so that homeowners still end up with tax increases. Tax money is used to help finance sports facilities, but not hospitals and industries to keep people working and living here. The governor should forget about national office and take care of the people who are taking care of him.



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