Today’s Message: Save my #SmallBiz and my job. STOP the #BigTobacco bailout tax hike in #HR4348. http://bit.ly/NewTax
It’s Tuesday, May 8, 2012 and TODAY is the day. At 3pm ET, members of Congress gather around the table to start formal negotiations over what stays and what goes. The bill they’re working on is Federal highway bill (H.R.4348) and it’s supposed to be a multi-year law authorizing highway and transit projects. Instead, the bill has become #BigTobacco’s latest effort to squeeze more profits from Americans.
Never mind that Big Tobacco companies already pull down in excess of a BILLION dollars every 90 days. Never mind Big Tobacco already owns 99 percent market share. They want MORE. They want it ALL. Which is why every year, Big Tobacco gives Congress hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. What does Big Tobacco expect in return for all this cash? Little favors like the one that’s in the Federal highway bill. More on that in a moment.
If you look close enough at the hallways and rooms within the U.S. Capitol, you can see the shapes of tobacco leaves woven into the artwork and the tops of sandstone columns. The decoration marks the significant and historic role tobacco played in our developing national economy. Even our first president, George Washington was a tobacco planter, sowing acres of the “cash crop” and collecting a tidy sum from each harvest. I imagine George would be surprised and saddened by the irony presented today. You see, in the very same rooms in the U.S. Capitol where tobacco’s economic legacy adorns the fixtures, some members of Congress will argue for the economic murder of hundreds of small businesses, and they’ll do it on behalf of the Big Tobacco companies.
Slipped into the Senate’s version of the 2012 highway bill is language that will “reclassify” small smoke shops where you can blend your own tobacco and roll your own cigarettes. If Big Tobacco gets their way, these Mom & Pop operations will become “tobacco manufacturing facilities” for the purposes of taxes and regulation. You’ve heard me rail on this before. There is NOTHING a Mom & Pop smoke shop has in common with Big Tobacco’s massive manufacturing facilities. Big Tobacco is demanding the reclassification for one reason: It will drive Mom & Pop smoke shops OUT of the roll your own business.
Big Tobacco’s logic is simple: If you roll your own smoke, Big Tobacco doesn’t make money. However, if you CAN’T roll your own, Big Tobacco will make money, because they think you’ll buy their smokes.
This effort to use the Federal Government to shut down roll your own competition is disgusting. It’s a HUGE abuse of the powers given to the Federal Government and Congress, and it CANNOT stand.
When they take away our freedom to roll our own smokes, what’s left? Oh right, higher taxes on small businesses and the unemployment line for thousands more people.
We need your voice. We need you to speak up about this unfair money grab by Big Tobacco. Hit Facebook, Twitter, email, phones. Tell your member of Congress to STOP the Big Tobacco bailout in the 2012 highway bill! The more we expose the Big Tobacco bailout, the more chance Congress will strip it from the highway bill.