Click here to see the latest update (it gets worse)
Pennsylvania dealt a death blow to many vape shops yesterday, passing a brutal tax that most, if not all, will be unable to afford. The tax was part of the state budget bill that got bipartisan support. It defines e-cigarettes and vapor products as “tobacco products” (but exempts cigars from being considered tobacco).
The state just passed a 40% wholesale cost tax on vapor products. This tax includes a “floor tax” that requires that every vape shop in PA write a check to the state for 40% of the wholesale value of their entire inventory. No shop can pay this tax so all shops will be out of business.
Can we please get serious about this?
Pennsylvania vapers: get mad...and get even!
For anyone interested in blaming one political party or the other, skip it. This one got support from both parties, as moderate Republicans joined Democrats to pass the budget. Vapers in Pennsylvania should look at the votes (here and here), and call their own house members and senators to express how disappointed you are. Then you should vote them out. And don’t forget Gov. Tom Wolf. He signed the bill within minutes of its passage.
In the end, the $13.3 million in tax revenue the bill’s authors promised will never appear, because many of the stores will probably be gone. The state will actually lose money, because a bankrupt business doesn’t pay sales, business or property taxes, and its employees will be out of work and drawing unemployment and other state benefits.
Vapers everywhere: do something now!
If there are vapers who still aren’t registered to vote, who still aren’t CASAA members, who still aren’t aware of what’s going on, please find them and slap them in the face with this vote. It should be a wake up call.
Pennsylvania becomes the sixth and largest state with a tax on vape products, joining Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, North Carolina and West Virginia. Bills have been introduced in several other states. Every vaper should be a CASAA member and take action the second legislation pops up.
Even in a state with a very active SFATA group, this can happen. Chris Hughes is like the Tasmanian devil of vaping advocacy, but even he wasn’t able to prevent this, because even with all the work they’ve done, Chris and his group still haven’t been able to get enough vapers organized to scare legislators away from actions like this. Pennsylvania is the fifth largest state in the country. Other states will watch this and take cues from the reaction.
Think it can’t happen where you are? Think again. And do something about it. Make your legislators afraid of us.