Tag Archives: vice taxes

Taxing “deadly” products is proving “deadly” for business owners

The recent legislation imposing a hike in taxes on tobacco products is proving deadly for local business owners.  Legislators have effectively instituted measures that are forcing people having to turn to buying their "deadly" products out of state and forcing local businesses to close their doors.   One such business is Utah’s oldest smoke shop, Jeanie’s tobacco.  The business is being forced to close it’s doors as a result of 2010 legislation that imposed a significant tax increase on cigarettes.
 
 

July 1….is the date by which [owner] Klc must come up with $125,000 to cover the higher tax on his existing inventory. Klc says it’s too big an investment for products that will be taxed at some of the highest rates in the nation.

"When I think of my customers and suppliers, I feel like I’m losing my best friends. It’s like I’m going to a funeral.

Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, who fought for years to raise Utah’s tobacco tax, said he understood that distributors would have to pay the bill, not retailers. But Charlie Roberts, Utah Tax Commission spokesman, said retailers indeed must pay the higher tax and yes, it will come due when the law takes effect this summer.

"If that’s the way it is, then so be it," Christensen said. "I’m sorry for some of the businessmen the law will impact, but they’re selling a deadly product."

 
(Salt Lake Tribune)

Well, let’s talk about what is "deadly" that also should be taxed.

Guns:  Utahns are big on guns.  Legilsators need to impose a guns and bullet tax hike:  100% hike on guns and $1.00 per bullet (government exempt)
Pollution:  All companies that contribute to the polluted air in Utah should be taxed even higher such as oil refineries and coal fired power plants (which put mercury into the air).
Alcohol:  Let’s close all liquor stores and have another prohibition!
Products with aspartagme:
Energy drinks
Fast food that is contributing to the ill health of Americans
(Utah should NEVER allow Big Mac’s into the state!)

Running local businesses out of town that have been in existence for a century or more is criminal in itself!  Legislators need to be equitable about which "deadly" products and companies producing "deadly" products are being taxed.
(see my previous post on Vice Taxing)

Vice Taxing

Utah’s legislators are about to set the stage for placing a tax on tobacco products.  But what about considering increasing taxes on all “vices”?

HB196 Tobacco Tax Revisions aims to increase the tax rates “on the
sale, use, storage, or distribution of tobacco products in the state for the 2010-11 fiscal year and allowing the rates to fluctuate in subsequent fiscal years”.

SB40 Cigarette and Tobacco Tax Amendments aims to
“increase the tax on cigarettes, moist snuff, and other tobacco products; deposit income from the permanent state trust fund into the General Fund; and
address the deposit of revenues collected from the taxes; make technical and conforming changes”.

HB71 Nicotine Product Restrictions “amends provisions of the Uniform Driver License Act, provisions relating to the state system of public education, the Utah Criminal Code, and the Utah Code of Criminal Procedure to place restrictions on the provision, obtaining, and possession of a nicotine product and to enforce these restrictions”.  Specifically, the bill is aimed to prevent the sale of nicotine laced candy and gum (not including smoking cessation products) in Utah, the products of which are currently not available in the state.

The sponsor of HB71, Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, has been the target by tobacco companies for possible court action should the bill pass, according to a Deseret News Article.

“Now they need to try to keep going by doping candy with the most addictive and deadly substance in tobacco,” he said. “Utah has made a point of protecting our youth from the hazards of tobacco use, and now that they are targeting a new market with lozenges and mints, we think that’s going to far.”

Read the rest of the article here.

In his piece in the Deseret News, Tobacco tax to hit those who can least afford it Lee Benson shares his encounter with folks addicted to tobacco who, despite raising taxes on the products and thus the consideration to stop the addiction, still are not able to stop.

“I know smoking’s not healthy,” he[patron at tobacco shop] says. “But every time I stop smoking, I gain weight — so I have to decide, am I going to die from obesity or from smoking?”

Smokers, he says, are a “scapegoat” for taxation.

“Nine percent of taxpayers smoke. Out of that 9 percent, they’re trying to take care of the majority. It isn’t fair. But what can you do?”

Benson interviews Sy Pham,  a tobacco wholesaler, who complains of the disparity between citizens actually paying for the tax increase:

 

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