Today’s Message: @LawmakerXYZ what’s dirtier than selling out to #BigTobacco? Nothing. http://bit.ly/NewTax
Good morning! It’s Friday, May 18, 2012. On this date in history, in 332 Constantine the great announced free food for the citizens of Constantinople; in 1860 Abraham Lincoln won the Republican presidential primary; and in 1953 Jackie Cochran became the first woman to break the sound barrier. It’s also the day we shed light on one of the most dastardly moves by the United States Congress as they do backflips and slimy contortions to secretly strengthen Big Tobacco’s monopoly on cigarette sales.
Take a look at the pictures above. The first is a processed, packaged, labeled, sealed, shipped and store-shelf stocked can of ground coffee from Folgers. If you’re a fan of the Discovery Channel, you know there is a TON of factory production required to transform a coffee bean ripening in the hot sun of Colombia into the convenient package seen above. The companies involved pay the associated costs of shipping, processing, marketing, distribution, etc. They pay the associated taxes, too. It only makes sense that if you have a million-square-foot facility using millions of gallons of water and megawatts of energy, you’re taxed an appropriate amount to cover your footprint.
Now look at the second picture. It’s the Eight O’Clock Coffee Cafe and you can find these convenient little shops in your neighborhood Kroger, Giant Eagle, Sam’s Club, Meijer and lots of other places. In addition to picking up pre-packaged coffee, I can pick up an empty coffee bag, blend my own coffee beans (half Colombia/half French Roast), pour my beans into Eight O’Clock’s machine, select the grind (I like semi-fine), grind the coffee into my bag, and walk away with a nice fresh blend with a taste that’s exactly how I like it.
So I ask you, should the U.S. Government treat the manufacturing facility that produces 500 cans of Folger’s a minute the same as it treats the coffee grinding station at the Eight O’Clock Cafe? Of course not! Between these two entities, there’s absolutely no comparing the resources, processes and waste.
EXCEPT, that is EXACTLY what Congress is trying to do to small, retail tobacco shops where you can roll your own smokes.
Let’s see, your publicly-elected members of the U.S. Congress want to TAX AND REGULATE with exact parity the multi-billion dollar international operation churning out thousands of cigarettes a second, and the shop where I can blend my preferred organically-grown tobacco and use their machine to roll my own smokes.
That seems fair……. NOT!
It’s not fair. Truth be known, your member of Congress knows it isn’t fair. They’ll sprain their tongue trying to tell you it IS fair, but it’s not. This move, H.R.4134 brought to you by U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana) and U.S. Representative Diane Black (R-Tennessee), is as underhanded as Congress gets. All this legislation will do is “reclassify” any tobacco shop where you can roll your own smokes FROM a “retailer” TO a “manufacturer” subject to all the same taxes and regulations as the big boys.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is the investigative arm of the legislative branch, charged with taking an independent view of matters involving public money (our tax dollars). They said this provision will SHUT DOWN those small tobacco shops where you can roll your own smokes. So ANY member of Congress telling you this provision is about closing tax loopholes, or bringing in more revenue for deficit reduction, or ensuring tree nymphs can fly as high as unicorns, is not really telling the
truth real story.
The REAL story: Big Tobacco hates your having the ability to roll your own smoke. Why? Because Big Tobacco doesn’t make a dime off you when you roll your own smoke! The story is too familiar: Big Tobacco buys a few members of Congress, they give hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash to nearly every member for their political campaigns, and when they see an opportunity to slip one by the public, Congress works on behalf of Big Tobacco to squash the competition.
This is as dirty as it gets, folks. I’m mad. I know you’re mad. Let’s channel that energy into making sure EVERY member of Congress KNOWS that we know their game.
YOUR MISSION: We’re waging a war on Twitter and Facebook but it has to happen EVERY DAY to be most effective. Consider there are nearly a BILLION Facebook users and half of them log in every day. The number that see our message can vary greatly so as long as we’re posting every day, we are doing our best to be seen.
AND, let’s get more vocal in the local newspapers. Have you ever written a letter to the editor? Commented in an online news story? Called a local reporter and told them about the Big Tobacco bailout? Reporters love to hear local voices, and they would be VERY interested in hearing about their local member of Congress selling out to Big Tobacco. Let’s get creative. Let’s be more bold. Let’s continue until we win!
LAST NOTE: Updating the list of turncoats who’ve sold out to Big Tobacco by backing H.R.4134. Please note that we should give special treatment to Representative Lee Terry (R-Nebraska). During a Twitter-townhall meeting he hosted, I asked him to reject the Big Tobacco bailout. He agreed with a “no new taxes” kind of response. The day after he won his Nebraska primary race for the GOP nomination, he signed on to the Big Tobacco bailout. That’s dirty. It’s underhanded. It’s insincere. Thanks for flip-flopping on us Congressman Terry. We thought you were better than that.
If you have a moment, let Rep Terry know how you feel about his sellout to raising taxes on small businesses for Big Tobacco.
The list of people supporting the Big Tobacco bailout (Updated May 18, 2012). Is your member on here? Tell them how you feel about that.
Rep Alexander, Rodney [LA-5] – 5/8/2012
Rep Barrow, John [GA-12] – 3/27/2012
Rep Blackburn, Marsha [TN-7] – 4/24/2012
Rep Boren, Dan [OK-2] – 4/18/2012
Rep Boswell, Leonard L. [IA-3] – 3/26/2012
Rep Boustany, Charles W., Jr. [LA-7] – 4/18/2012
Rep Buerkle, Ann Marie [NY-25] – 3/28/2012
Rep Butterfield, G. K. [NC-1] – 4/24/2012
Rep Canseco, Francisco “Quico” [TX-23] – 4/16/2012
Rep Capps, Lois [CA-23] – 4/16/2012
Rep Carnahan, Russ [MO-3] – 4/16/2012
Rep Carter, John R. [TX-31] – 5/16/2012
Rep Chandler, Ben [KY-6] – 5/16/2012
Rep Cleaver, Emanuel [MO-5] – 4/24/2012
Rep Coble, Howard [NC-6] – 3/21/2012
Rep Cole, Tom [OK-4] – 3/26/2012
Rep Connolly, Gerald E. “Gerry” [VA-11] – 4/16/2012
Rep Costa, Jim [CA-20] – 5/16/2012
Rep Crowley, Joseph [NY-7] – 3/7/2012
Rep Dingell, John D. [MI-15] – 5/10/2012
Rep Ellmers, Renee L. [NC-2] – 3/8/2012
Rep Farr, Sam [CA-17] – 4/18/2012
Rep Flores, Bill [TX-17] – 4/16/2012
Rep Gonzalez, Charles A. [TX-20] – 5/7/2012
Rep Griffin, Tim [AR-2] – 4/24/2012
Rep Hall, Ralph M. [TX-4] – 4/19/2012
Rep Hanabusa, Colleen W. [HI-1] – 4/25/2012
Rep Harper, Gregg [MS-3] – 4/18/2012
Rep Hastings, Alcee L. [FL-23] – 3/28/2012
Rep Holt, Rush D. [NJ-12] – 5/7/2012
Rep Hurt, Robert [VA-5] – 5/9/2012
Rep Johnson, Eddie Bernice [TX-30] – 4/19/2012
Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [NC-3] – 3/26/2012
Rep Kind, Ron [WI-3] – 3/20/2012
Rep Kinzinger, Adam [IL-11] – 3/27/2012
Rep Latham, Tom [IA-4] – 4/18/2012
Rep Lummis, Cynthia M. [WY] – 4/18/2012
Rep Marino, Tom [PA-10] – 3/21/2012
Rep Matsui, Doris O. [CA-5] – 3/28/2012
Rep McIntyre, Mike [NC-7] – 3/30/2012
Rep Meeks, Gregory W. [NY-6] – 4/24/2012
Rep Nunes, Devin [CA-21] – 3/27/2012
Rep Owens, William L. [NY-23] – 3/29/2012
Rep Pastor, Ed [AZ-4] – 4/16/2012
Rep Poe, Ted [TX-2] – 4/25/2012
Rep Rangel, Charles B. [NY-15] – 3/16/2012
Rep Rehberg, Denny [MT] – 3/27/2012
Rep Rokita, Todd [IN-4] – 5/7/2012
Rep Rooney, Thomas J. [FL-16] – 3/29/2012
Rep Sanchez, Linda T. [CA-39] – 4/16/2012
Rep Sanchez, Loretta [CA-47] – 4/24/2012
Rep Schock, Aaron [IL-18] – 4/24/2012
Rep Schrader, Kurt [OR-5] – 3/22/2012
Rep Scott, Austin [GA-8] – 4/17/2012
Rep Scott, David [GA-13] – 4/24/2012
Rep Sessions, Pete [TX-32] – 4/16/2012
Rep Shuster, Bill [PA-9] – 4/16/2012
Rep Smith, Adam [WA-9] – 4/19/2012
Rep Speier, Jackie [CA-12] – 4/19/2012
Rep Stivers, Steve [OH-15] – 4/19/2012
Rep Sullivan, John [OK-1] – 3/26/2012
Rep Terry, Lee [NE-2] – 5/16/2012
Rep Thompson, Bennie G. [MS-2] – 3/28/2012
Rep Thornberry, Mac [TX-13] – 4/24/2012
Rep Walden, Greg [OR-2] – 4/16/2012
Rep Waxman, Henry A. [CA-30] – 3/29/2012
Rep Welch, Peter [VT] – 4/18/2012
Rep Wilson, Joe [SC-2] – 5/7/2012
Rep Womack, Steve [AR-3] – 4/24/2012
Rep Yoder, Kevin [KS-3] – 3/26/2012