Monthly Archives: April 2012

BigTobacco: The Serial Killer of Small Business Jobs

The term “Serial killer” might seem harsh, but crushing the life out of jobs at small businesses is exactly what Big Tobacco is doing. A friend shared with me an online article from Forbes that noted in the 1990-1991 recession “business failures destroyed 103,000 more jobs than business starts created.” During the 2001 recession, another 290,000 small business jobs were lost. The current recession (which some will tell you has ended) destroyed another 800,000 jobs at small businesses!

And how does Big Tobacco react to these job loss numbers? They want to eliminate more jobs. And they’re on track to doing it with Congress’s help.

TODAY’S MESSAGE: My job depends on Congress killing the BigTobacco bailout in the highway bill. More: bit.ly/NewTax 

How are Congress and BigTobacco going after our jobs? They’re playing a game of “pick the winner” with legislation that will eliminate Big Tobacco’s competition.

In other words, BigTobacco and Congress are making the tobacco industry a “PAY TO PLAY” arena. If mom & pop small business owners can’t pay the same costs of taxes and regulations as mega monopoly BigTobacco, then mom & pop have to get out of business.

Let’s look at reality. BigTobacco runs multi-million dollar, mammoth footprint facilities adding pollution, waste, and spent energy to the balance sheet. They run a shipping fleet of trucks, trains, and ships all over the world getting their product into the hands of consumers. From Bangkok to Austria to Los Angeles and Laredo, Texas – BigTobacco is leaving a HUGE footprint on everything.

In comparison, the mom & pop store where I occasionally buy milk, a loaf of bread, and some Gatorade: They buy their tobacco blends from a regional producer. They employ my high school sweetheart who’s raising two kids. They contribute to their local community and sponsor a charity booth during the county fair. I go in there every week or so and use an electric machine to custom roll my own smokes. And for this, BigTobacco wants them OUT OF BUSINESS. If that happens, mom & pop lose their business. Jobs are lost. A contributing piece of the community will have died.

Bottom line: For every smoke I roll for myself, BigTobacco loses a sale. Lost sales=lost profits. It’s not enough that BigTobacco grabs in excess of $44 BILLION in REVENUE a year. It’s not enough they have nearly 100 PERCENT of the cigarette market. No, they have to come after ME and mom & pop stores where we roll a little taste into our smokes.

WHAT CAN WE DO: Tell Congress to STOP the BigTobacco bailout in the federal highway bill. Tell them at a town hall meeting. Tell them on the phone. Call their offices in your town, and in Washington. Talk to your lawmakers through Facebook and Twitter. Tell them to STOP THE BIG TOBACCO BAILOUT, because it’s a job killer that raises taxes and regulations on small business.

CALL CONGRESS:

Phone and website directory for the U.S. House: http://www.house.gov/representatives/

Phone and website directory for the U.S. Senate: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Take a look at some of my previous posts to see who we need to talk with. And PLEASE use the comment section here to tell us about any reactions/responses you get from your lawmaker’s office and we’ll talk about that, too.

– TaxTrakker

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Hey Big Tobacco: What Is H.R.4134 and how did you get Rep. Diane Black to back it?

It’s Sunday, April 29 and I thought today would be a good day to revisit H.R.4134, Big Tobacco’s bill introduced by Rep. Diane Black (R-Tennessee). In a nutshell, (Help! I’m trapped in a nutshell), H.R.4134 is special legislation designed to do ONE thing and one thing ONLY: Reclaim Big Tobacco’s monopoly on cigarette sales. More on that in a moment.

Today’s Message

Congress: BREAK BigTobacco’s monopoly. PROTECT the right to roll our own!  MORE: http://bit.ly/NewTax

We know H.R.4134 is a new tax, but HOW is it a new tax? Here’s a summary of H.R. 4134: [The bill] Amends the Internal Revenue Code to include within the definition of “manufacturer of tobacco products,” for excise tax purposes, any person who for commercial purposes makes available for consumer use a machine capable of producing tobacco products.

What does that mean? Well, remember that little plastic machine we used to use to roll our own cigarettes? This thing:

Under H.R.4134, if a tobacco shop owner lets me use THIS device (or updated devices that work a lot faster) in his place of business, he will now be classified as a “manufacturer of tobacco products” and subject to all kinds of NEW FEDERAL TAXES and REGULATIONS. In fact, they’ll be subject to the SAME taxes and regulations as Big Tobacco!!

Why would Big Tobacco want to do this? Because they LOSE MONEY every time one of us rolls our own smoke.

Stated again: As long as we have the ability to roll our own smokes, we are free from having to buy big tobacco’s crappy and tasteless product. BUT, if Big Tobacco takes away that ability, they assume they will recapture us as their customers.

Big Tobacco doesn’t get a cut of my money, because they choose not to sell the individual components of a cigarette. Hey, if Big Tobacco got into the market of individual components and made a quality product, I’d give them a try. BUT, they don’t. So bug off.

If I buy my own tobacco (a tasty blend of spices and pear), my favorite rolling paper (slow burn rate), my preferred filters, and then use a tobacco shop’s rolling machine, so what? Well, greed is as quick and powerful as it is evil. And that’s why Big Tobacco is having Congress slip a back-handed provision in the new highway bill. That provision is identical to H.R.4134 and if this legislative language is passed and signed into law, small smoke shops will be RUN OUT of business, and you and me will no longer have the freedom to roll our own smokes!

It used to be I could care less about Big Tobacco. They sell their smokes to most of the smoking population and make big profits using foreign workers, foreign supplies, etc. But now their greed has crossed the line. They want to capture every penny they can from hard working Americans by FORBIDDING us from rolling our own smokes and ELIMINATING our ability to choose what I smoke. Really, Big Tobacco? You really need that new luxury yacht that badly?

SO what can you do? Together, we can expose Big Tobacco’s plan, tell every member of Congress to STOP the Big Tobacco Bailout. It’s wrong, it’s a job-killer because it will force small mom & pop establishments OUT of business, it will raise taxes, it will increase regulations, and it will force ALL of us to give up our personal preferences and go back to buying the red and white pack, or the green pack, or the auburn yellow pack. Crappy tasting stuff sucks.

WHO is responsible for H.R.4134 besides Rep Diane Black (R-Tennessee)? Here’s the list. Our job is to STOP its growth and convince these members to STOP these members from continuing to support its evil provisions. Is your local congressman on this list? Reach out to their office and tell them to STOP supporting these Big Tobacco provisions! Use Twitter, Facebook, phone calls, letters, faxes, telegram, carrier pigeon. Use every friend and family member, too. Katie, bar the door because if they win on this, there’s no telling where Big Tobacco will greedily strike next.

Rep Crowley, Joseph [NY-7] – 3/7/2012
Rep Ellmers, Renee L. [NC-2] – 3/8/2012
Rep Rangel, Charles B. [NY-15] – 3/16/2012
Rep Kind, Ron [WI-3] – 3/20/2012
Rep Coble, Howard [NC-6] – 3/21/2012
Rep Marino, Tom [PA-10] – 3/21/2012
Rep Schrader, Kurt [OR-5] – 3/22/2012
Rep Cole, Tom [OK-4] – 3/26/2012
Rep Yoder, Kevin [KS-3] – 3/26/2012
Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [NC-3] – 3/26/2012
Rep Sullivan, John [OK-1] – 3/26/2012
Rep Boswell, Leonard L. [IA-3] – 3/26/2012
Rep Kinzinger, Adam [IL-11] – 3/27/2012
Rep Rehberg, Denny [MT] – 3/27/2012
Rep Barrow, John [GA-12] – 3/27/2012
Rep Nunes, Devin [CA-21] – 3/27/2012
Rep Buerkle, Ann Marie [NY-25] – 3/28/2012
Rep Hastings, Alcee L. [FL-23] – 3/28/2012
Rep Thompson, Bennie G. [MS-2] – 3/28/2012
Rep Matsui, Doris O. [CA-5] – 3/28/2012
Rep Owens, William L. [NY-23] – 3/29/2012
Rep Waxman, Henry A. [CA-30] – 3/29/2012
Rep Rooney, Thomas J. [FL-16] – 3/29/2012
Rep McIntyre, Mike [NC-7] – 3/30/2012
Rep Connolly, Gerald E. “Gerry” [VA-11] – 4/16/2012
Rep Capps, Lois [CA-23] – 4/16/2012
Rep Walden, Greg [OR-2] – 4/16/2012
Rep Pastor, Ed [AZ-4] – 4/16/2012
Rep Sanchez, Linda T. [CA-39] – 4/16/2012
Rep Shuster, Bill [PA-9] – 4/16/2012
Rep Sessions, Pete [TX-32] – 4/16/2012
Rep Carnahan, Russ [MO-3] – 4/16/2012
Rep Flores, Bill [TX-17] – 4/16/2012
Rep Canseco, Francisco “Quico” [TX-23] – 4/16/2012
Rep Scott, Austin [GA-8] – 4/17/2012
Rep Lummis, Cynthia M. [WY] – 4/18/2012
Rep Farr, Sam [CA-17] – 4/18/2012
Rep Boren, Dan [OK-2] – 4/18/2012
Rep Boustany, Charles W., Jr. [LA-7] – 4/18/2012
Rep Harper, Gregg [MS-3] – 4/18/2012
Rep Welch, Peter [VT] – 4/18/2012
Rep Latham, Tom [IA-4] – 4/18/2012
Rep Johnson, Eddie Bernice [TX-30] – 4/19/2012
Rep Hall, Ralph M. [TX-4] – 4/19/2012
Rep Stivers, Steve [OH-15] – 4/19/2012
Rep Speier, Jackie [CA-12] – 4/19/2012
Rep Smith, Adam [WA-9] – 4/19/2012
Rep Cleaver, Emanuel [MO-5] – 4/24/2012
Rep Meeks, Gregory W. [NY-6] – 4/24/2012
Rep Griffin, Tim [AR-2] – 4/24/2012
Rep Sanchez, Loretta [CA-47] – 4/24/2012
Rep Butterfield, G. K. [NC-1] – 4/24/2012
Rep Scott, David [GA-13] – 4/24/2012
Rep Blackburn, Marsha [TN-7] – 4/24/2012
Rep Thornberry, Mac [TX-13] – 4/24/2012
Rep Womack, Steve [AR-3] – 4/24/2012
Rep Schock, Aaron [IL-18] – 4/24/2012
Rep Poe, Ted [TX-2] – 4/25/2012
Rep Hanabusa, Colleen W. [HI-1] – 4/25/2012

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Welcome to Big Tobacco’s Pay Day

SATURDAY MESSAGE: Good Morning Twitteristas! Since it’s Saturday, I’ll keep it short. Members of Congress just went on a week-long recess. That means most of these lawmakers will be in their home town areas, holding town hall meetings, attending public civic events, visiting businesses, and conducting downtown tours. This is your PRIME opportunity to tell your member of Congress to STOP the BigTobacco bailout in the highway bill. It’s a money grab by Big Tobacco, a tax hike on small business, and a job killer.

YOUR MESSAGE: If you’re up to Tweeting and Facebooking, it’s time to talk to every member of Congress (your member, members listed below, other members) and tell them:

NO new taxes. NO job killing regs. NO special favors. Tell Congress: STOP the BigTobacco bailout in the highway bill. 

Here’s an excerpt from a blog item posted on The Hill newspaper talking about the people whose staff members are ALREADY WORKING on the details of a final Federal highway bill. We must mount pressure on them to drop the Senate provision reclassifying small smoke shops as “manufacturing facilities.” Letting Big Tobacco pull that kind of move on a highway bill is disgusting and wrong. And if Big Tobacco succeeds, we’ll all be forced back into filling their pockets with our hard-earned money, paying for their crappy, tasteless product.

The people closest to the highway bill right now (from The Hill newspaper):

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is one of 14 senators who were appointed to the conference committee this week. She will be joined by Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), David Vitter (R-La.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.).The House has appointed 33 lawmakers to the highway bill conference committee, including Republican Reps. John Mica (Fla.), Don Young (Alaska), John Duncan (Tenn.), Bill Shuster (Pa.), Shelley Moore Capito (W-Va.), Rick Crawford (Ark.), Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.), Larry Bucshon (Ind.), Richard Hanna (N.Y.), Steve Southerland (Fla.), James Lankford (Okla.), Reid Ribble (Wis.), Fred Upton (Mich.), Ed Whitfield (Ky.), Doc Hastings (Wash.), Rob Bishop (Utah), Ralph Hall (Texas), Chip Cravaack (Minn.), Dave Camp (Mich.) and Patrick Tiberi (Ohio).

Those GOP members of the transportation conference committee will be joined by 13 House Democrats: Reps. Nick Rahall (W.Va.), Peter DeFazio (Ore.), Jerry Costello (Ill.), Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), Corrine Brown (Fla.), Elijah Cummings (Md.), Leonard Boswell (Iowa), Tim Bishop (N.Y.), Henry Waxman (Calif.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas), Earl Blumenauer (Ore.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.).

***End of excerpt.***
So have a good weekend loyal Twitterista and good luck finding out where your members of Congress stand on the BigTobacco bailout. I’ll see you online. – GR
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I am not a manufacturer. Don’t tax me like one. Stop the Big Tobacco bailout in the federal highway bill.

TODAY’S BOTTOM LINE: I am not a manufacturer. Don’t tax or treat me like one. Don’t use the federal highway bill to SELL OUT to BIG TOBACCO.

Right now in the U.S. Capitol, lawmakers are working out their differences between the competing House and Senate versions of a federal highway bill. Technically, it’s called the Surface Transportation Reauthorization bill and it’s supposed to invest our gas tax dollars in roads, bridges, mass transit, etc. EXCEPT the bill has now become a dangerous SELL OUT to BIG TOBACCO.

As I’ve mentioned before, Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana) corrupted the highway bill by attaching a shady provision that reclassifies tobacco stores where you can roll your own cigarettes as “tobacco manufacturing facilities.” Both Democrats and Republicans are selling out to Big Tobacco on this one, and we assume it’s because vast numbers of Big Tobacco lobbyists are swooping down on Congress with big campaign contributions.

Fortunately for people like you and me, this rat stinks to high heaven. And the more we ask our members about the Big Tobacco sellout, the more they’re going to want to wash this stinky rat off themselves.

REALITY CHECK: Should the Federal government REALLY view and treat mom and pop smoke shops the same as they treat Big Tobacco’s two-million square foot facilities?

Really? This cigarette making factory…

…and this store where you can roll your own blend of smokes deserve the SAME taxes and regulations?!!  Outrageous and wrong!!! 

We have to fight this provision and hold lawmakers to account for their position. We have to win because this reclassification will mean HIGHER TAXES and NEEDLESS REGULATION for small business owners. If allowed to succeed, this reclassification will drive small operators OUT OF BUSINESS. That means loss of community establishments, loss of local economic activity, and a big loss in JOBS!

But Big Tobacco doesn’t care about that. They just care about their profits. If they can use Congress and the Federal Government to shut down small mom and pop tobacco stores, then everyone will be forced to buy their crappy, industrial, tasteless smokes. Blah.

Join the fight. Follow me on Twitter @GeorgeRenome. Facebook and Tweet to your members of Congress and tell them NOT to sellout to Big Tobacco.

Your feedback is appreciated!

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Congress is Paving a Monopoly for Big Tobacco

Today’s Message: @YourLawmaker: Stop the #BigTobacco bailout in the highway bill S.1813. It’s a tax hike and will cost me my job.

Will members of Congress ever learn?

Once again, your powerful elected lawmakers are quietly trying to slip a special favor to Big Tobacco. Well, we found out about it and we plan to expose every dirty detail we can find. What I need you to do is spread the word. Tell your House Representative, your Senator, your milkman and everyone else you know: “TAKE THE BIG TOBACCO BAILOUT OUT OF THE HIGHWAY BILL!”

Hidden in the U.S. Senate’s two-year, $109 billion dollar transportation bill (S.1813) is a tiny little provision that is a BIG PAYOFF to BIG TOBACCO. It’s a provision that RAISES TAXES on small business, heaps new and NEEDLESS REGULATIONS on small smoke shops, and threatens to ELIMINATE HUNDREDS of American jobs.

If you’ve not read my other posts, here’s the low down: This provision is Big Tobacco’s way of attacking people like me who like to roll their own smokes. I still remember rolling my own with a Zig Zag wrapper when I was in high school. Now, I have matured (a little). I’ve created my own flavorful tobacco blend, I use a smoothing filter, and I rent a rolling machine at my local head shop. Presto-chango and I’ve made my own smokes! BUT, when I roll my own smoke, that’s one fewer cigarette Big Tobacco can’t sell me. No Big Tobacco sale, no Big Tobacco profit. No profit for Big Tobacco means no private jets, no luxury yachts, no huge mansions, and no big bonuses for Big Tobacco executives. Big Tobacco thinks that’s a problem, and that’s where Congress comes in.

Big Tobacco has hired a few senators to do their bidding. The legislative staff for Montana Senator Max Baucus convinced a handful of his colleagues working on the nation’s highway bill to slide in language essentially shutting down small, family owned smoke shops where people can craft their own cigarettes. If Big Tobacco succeeds, we will ALL be forced back into buying Big Tobacco’s tasteless, crappy, chemical-treated, foreign-grown products. Yuck.

Who benefits if small smoke shops are driven out of business? That’s right, Big Tobacco.

Who loses if Congress slips this tax increase into the final version of the transportation bill? We do. The days of rolling your own smoke immediately evaporate.

What can we do? Make as much noise as possible. Call your U.S. House member. Call your U.S. Senators. Tell them STOP THE BIG TOBACCO BAILOUT. Tell them  DON’T SELL OUT TO BIG TOBACCO. Tell them to STOP THE MONOPOLY FOR BIG TOBACCO. And tell them WE WILL REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER.

Phone directory for the U.S. House: http://www.house.gov/representatives/

Phone directory for the U.S. Senate: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Call. Tweet. Facebook. Write letters. Anything and everything and now is the time, because we are under siege and they’re about to take away yet another one of our freedoms.

Stay tuned for updates and please follow me on Twitter. Retweet to your friends and let’s make this a BIG BUST for BIG TOBACCO.

– GR

On Twitter: @GeorgeRenome

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Where we came from. Where we are headed.

Friends, Ronald Reagan had it right. He warned us about liberal bureaucrats and their penchant for leeching onto anything they can to advance their own goals. Of government, Reagan said: 

“[G]overnment’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

State of the Union Address, February 4, 1986

As we move forward in the coming days, we are going to mount a renewed effort to expose those seeking to clamp down on our wallets, our freedoms, and our pursuit of happiness. Join me by sharing these thoughts, retweeting my tweets (@GeorgeRenome), and starting your own campaigns for freedom. 

There is no doubt, the future of our nation is in peril. We are threatened by an enormous national debt, a tax code that discourages economic activity and prosperity, and an ever-growing government interested only in an end purpose of growing itself larger. I’m afraid the end won’t come in one fell swoop, but instead a series of incessant and constant paper cuts, until we are bled of our freedoms, unable to raise our hands in opposition.

Not the Morning in America Reagan Envisioned

Call your member of the House of Representatives now at 202-224-3121 and tell them to STOP THE BIG TOBACCO BAILOUT. VOTE NO ON H.R.4134.

Today, when the sun rises over our glistening eastern seaboard, more people won’t go to work than ever before. Inflation will be double the level of previous years. Gasoline will cost a family of four the same as what they pay for groceries in a week, and Big Tobacco will drive hundreds of small shops out of business, displacing thousands of people from their homes and livelihoods.

This is not the morning in America Ronald Reagan envisioned during his 1984 reelection campaign. These are difficult times. More about that in a moment.

Let’s flash back to 1985 in rural Gallatin, Tennessee. We see a young 34 year old woman who was born, raised, married and reared children near Baltimore, Maryland has just arrived. She left her government house and nursing job in urban Maryland to further her nursing career in rural Tennessee. Eventually, her scientist husband hit it big and now the couple is worth $29 million. Using their personal wealth and a little gerrymandering, this young lady (now 61 years old) retired from nursing and bought herself a seat in Congress (check the Federal Election Commission reports for candidate contributions, it’s true).

Scene: Present day Washington, DC

Ronald Reagan’s legacy still hangs on in corners of our nations capital city, and many members still come to Washington filled with the warm embrace of his vision of reaching the shining city on a hill. Reagan stood for everything that was brilliant, and he condemned the corrupt and evil. Just like when Mr. Smith came to Washington, Ronald Reagan eschewed corrupt politicians because he didn’t think back room deals were right. He refused to take part in using the government to pick winners and losers of industry, and he rejected making Americans “pay to play” in any given commercial sector.

Unfortunately, Ronald Reagan’s vision is lost on a handful of members of Congress. The most recent fallen angel is U.S. Representative Diane Black (R-TN). Her legislation, H.R.4134, is nothing more than an attempt to use the Federal Government to quash Big Tobacco’s competition.

How things got this bad is an ugly story. I won’t scare you with all the details, so here it is in a nutshell: Big Tobacco makes money selling cigarettes. They don’t make money when people choose to roll their own cigarettes. Given the state of our economy and the availability of custom (and tasty) tobacco blends, more people are choosing to roll their own. This makes Big Tobacco angry.

Predictably, Big Tobacco convinced the Obama Administration’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) to try and regulate people’s ability to roll their own cigarettes. They want to classify this “roll your own” activity as ‘manufacturing’ and apply all the relevant regulations and taxes. Thankfully, a Federal judge in Ohio has stayed that enforcement attempt, so Big Tobacco has asked (bought) members of Congress to enact the regulations by passing them into law. No one wants their fingerprints on such a special carve-out for Big Tobacco, so they tried to slip the provision into law under cover of a transportation bill (Montana Senator Max Baucus did this).

The resulting fury at the undercover Big Tobacco provision gave members pause, but not for long. Rep. Black introduced her bill, H.R.4134, rounded up 23 other pro-Big Tobacco members (we call them the Dirty2Dozen), and trotted off for a two-week recess hoping no one would notice. Well, we’ve noticed. We think it’s dirty. And we’re waiting to see how these lawmakers will try to take H.R.4134’s provisions and slip them into law.

The unfortunate impact if Rep. Diane Black (R-Big Tobacco) is successful, is she’ll have raised taxes on working families and small businesses, and created a nice monopoly for the same people who bring you manufactured, dull, pre-packaged smokes.

You can help stop this by calling your member of the House of Representatives, and tell them NO on H.R. 4134. Tell them it’s a tax hike, it’s a Big Tobacco Bailout, and it’s dirty government.

Call the House of Representatives now at 202-224-3121 and ask for your Congressman. Tell them NO on H.R.4134 on Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, snail mail, telegraph, smoke signal… however you like!

Something has gone dramatically wrong in America when the Federal government starts picking winners, and losers at the behest of Big Tobacco. Together, we can stop them. – GR

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Big Tobacco Buys a Bill… **OR** Washington at its Ugliest.

The age-old adage in Washington, DC is if you really want to know why something is happening, “follow the money.” When Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) slipped a last minute provision into a highway bill providing a direct benefit to Big Tobacco, we put our thinking caps on and pondered, WHY? Then, when a self-proclaimed conservative Republican House member from Tennessee introduced a similar bill (H.R. 4134), we wondered WHY again! Well, if we follow the money, interesting perspectives appear.

Tennessee Republican U.S. House Rep. Diane Black for instance, received some significant tobacco money over the last couple election cycles. With 2012 and 2010 combined, Big Tobacco interests directly contributed at least $12,500 to Rep. Black. There are probably other individual contributions from folks also employed by Big Tobacco, but we can’t be certain because DOZENS of pages of Federal Elections Commissions (FEC) filings for Ms. Black contain “information requested” instead of actual employers. Hello FEC, are you listening?? Hello, FEC? Are you there…???

We DO know, however, the CHAIRMAN and CEO of PHILLIP MORRIS, Mr. Louis Camilleri, personally gave Ms. Black $1,000 on April 28, 2011. That’s a pretty tight bond for the Chairman and CEO of PHILLIP MORRIS to personally cut a check to a candidate. We wondered what issue he was interested in talking about with Ms. Black?

Rep. Black is a member of the prestigious House Ways and Means Committee. She has introduced H.R. 4134, a bill to RAISE TAXES on head shops (slang for tobacco shops) if they let people “roll their own” cigarettes in their shop. The roll-your-own fad is apparently cutting into the profits of Big Tobacco, because some people LIKE TO TAILOR THEIR SMOKES TO THEIR OWN TASTE. Imagine that. You don’t like Marlboro, Salem, or Camel and you want to make your own blend… BUT Big Tobacco says, “fuggeddaboutit.”

So, Rep. Black introduces a bill to reclassify small smoke shops with roll-your-own machines as “manufacturing facilities.” If this happens, the small shops will be forced to pay new taxes, suffer stiff new regulations, and PAY TO PLAY in the same arena as the multi-billion dollar big tobacco companies. That seems fair, right? Have you BEEN in a smoke shop? These are strip mall storefronts with little more than thin sheetrock, fancy wood, and 1200 feet of floor space of jars for you to choose your own smoke blend. Apparently, the Marlboro Man is threatened by this and wants to shut it down. Thank you, Rep. Black for doing the bidding of Big Tobacco!!

Check out her website. Rep. Black says head shops are endangering children and hamsters by flouting state and local fire regulations. Ummm, WHEN was it the responsibility of FEDERAL lawmakers to worry about STATE law or regulation? She’s also concerned small business owners aren’t paying the same tax rate as international, multi-billion dollar companies. We feel your pain, Ms. Black… especially in the current economy. Thanks for your support, thanks for fighting for individuals, and thanks for being a FAKE conservative.

Here’s some more campaign contribution information. This is just Altria (Phillip Morris) giving to members of the House Ways and Means Committee in the 2012 election cycle, and NOT representative of ALL the tobacco money they’ve received:

2012

Jim Gerlach (R-PA) – $5,000

Sam Johnson (R-TX) – $2,000

Kevin Brady (R-TX) – $1,000

Devin Nunes (R-CA) – $5,000

Pat Tiberi (R-OH) – $3,000

Geoff Davis (R-KY) – $1,000

Charles Boustany (R-LA) – $4,000

Peter Roskam (R-IL) – $2,500

Tom Price (R-GA) – $2,000

Vern Buchanan (R-FL) – $2,000

Adrian Smith (R-NE) – $2,000

Aaron Schock (R-IL) – $5,000

Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) – $2,000

Rick Berg (R-ND) – $3,500

Diane Black (R-TN) – $2,500

Tom Reed (R-NY) – $2,000

Charlie Rangel (D-NY) – $2,000

Richard Neal (D-MA) – $2,500

Joseph Crowley (D-NY) – $5,000

Please leave your thoughts and comments. Oh, and smoke ’em if you got ’em… but only if they’re rolled for you by nameless, faceless, multi-billion international companies uninterested in your taste or style. – GR

The Dirty Two-Dozen a.k.a. “the big tobacco pack”

Here’s the list you DON’T want your member to join:

Rep Barrow, John [GA-12]
Rep Black, Diane [TN-6]
Rep Boswell, Leonard L. [IA-3]
Rep Buerkle, Ann Marie [NY-25]
Rep Coble, Howard [NC-6]
Rep Cole, Tom [OK-4]
Rep Crowley, Joseph [NY-7]
Rep Ellmers, Renee L. [NC-2]
Rep Hastings, Alcee L. [FL-23]
Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [NC-3]
Rep Kind, Ron [WI-3]
Rep Kinzinger, Adam [IL-11]
Rep Marino, Tom [PA-10]
Rep Matsui, Doris O. [CA-5]
Rep McIntyre, Mike [NC-7]
Rep Nunes, Devin [CA-21]
Rep Owens, William L. [NY-23]
Rep Rangel, Charles B. [NY-15]
Rep Rehberg, Denny [MT]
Rep Rooney, Thomas J. [FL-16]
Rep Schrader, Kurt [OR-5]
Rep Sullivan, John [OK-1]
Rep Thompson, Bennie G. [MS-2]
Rep Waxman, Henry A. [CA-30]
Rep Yoder, Kevin [KS-3]

This is the list of the two-dozen members of the U.S. House of Representatives backing H.R. 4134, a bill written by Big Tobacco companies and designed to drive small entrepreneurs out of business. The legislation essentially reclassifies certain tobacco shops in the U.S. as “manufacturing facilities” if they sell “roll your own” cigarettes. For any of these small tobacco shops, this will mean a bunch of new taxes, new regulations, and they’ll quickly have to close their businesses.

That’s what Big Tobacco wants. They want to keep their monopoly. They’ve devised H.R.4134, a PAY TO PLAY scheme, and U.S. Rep. Diane Black has introduced Big Tobacco’s bill in Congress. She calls it “closing a loophole” in the tax code. But if she weren’t directly doing the bidding of Big Tobacco, why hasn’t she gone after any other loophole? Why not push for comprehensive tax reform?

Indeed, Rep. Diane Black’s own website states:

“In this economic climate, it is absolutely wrong to raise taxes on families and employers. Rather we should make the tax code simpler and fairer, not larger and more painful.”

And yet, RAISING TAXES on employers and families is EXACTLY what Congresswoman Diane Black proposes. In addition, H.R.4134 heaps pig poop into the air when it says “roll your own” cigarettes aren’t complying with state and federal regulations. Really? Really Congresswoman Diane Big Tobacco Black? This is what you went to Congress for? To raise taxes and regulations on small business owners? For shame.

Call your member of Congress today and say NO to H.R. 4134. Tell #BigTobacco their pay-to-play scheme is OVER.

The U.S. House of Representatives switchboard telephone is 202-224-3121. Call and ask for your representative’s office. If you don’t know your representative, you can look him/her up by zip code. You can also go online and look it up here: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml

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