Letter to the Editor of the KC Star:
It is complete non-sense for legislators to facilitate a Big Tobacco scheme to crush competition. Reynolds American is duping legislators into doing their dirty work. The Reynolds plan was snuck into the budget bill late into the session without hearings or impact reports and puts an EXTRA tax on e-cigs. Reynolds American is attempting to snuff out the competition and keep Kansans smoking their deadly cigarettes.
Under Reynolds’ plan consumers will pay $6 tax on a $10 bottle of e-cig liquid, that’s a 60% tax! The problem is that the vaping population in Kansas is relatively small. To receive any measurable revenue the government has to charge an enormous tax that would weigh heavily on the product consumers and assure the destruction of small businesses. Many will close and employees will lose their jobs. Consumer dollars will be spent in Missouri instead.
All of this for a line item that is only estimated to bring in 2 million dollars in revenue.
Please, Kansas legislators, when the Joe Camel crew comes around asking you to pass this tax, because they are very concerned for the health of Kansans (*cough*), please take a deep breath and do some real contemplation.
Those of you following the Kansas legislature are already familiar with the details. Those of you who aren’t, let me just say that the fact that this is happening in a state with a Republican super-majority is not a good sign for the future of vaping in America. Up until now it has been predominantly Democratic leaning states that have been harsh on vapor products (and this isn’t a jab any party). A proposed tax of 20 cents per ml of eliquid (irrespective of nicotine content) was slipped into the budget and tax bill at the urging of RAI. That bill has been defeated, but we still lack a budget/tax package for the session. I expect it to be brought up again and again in future revisions and plans. If you live in Kansas, do business in Kansas,or have family or friends in Kansas, please… contact the legislature and let them know how BAD this idea is. With a 400 million plus (some reports say higher) budget shortfall, this 2 million dollar line item is only 0.5% of the shortfall. This is NOT about revenue. It’s about killing vapor at the request of Big Tobacco.
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