This Weekend’s Message: @LawmakerXYZ a #BigTobacco bailout is NOT a #jobs plan. SAVE #jobs and STOP HR4134. http://bit.ly/NewTax
Good morning! It’s Sunday, June 3, 2012 and I thought we might begin today by playing a guessing game. I’ll describe a company and you see if you can guess what it is. No fair scrolling down to see the answer, okay?
The owner of this mystery company had an idea one day that he could invent and franchise a machine that could assemble products inside a retail establishment so people could make a completely custom product that was exactly to their liking. These machines had to be precise, small enough to fit inside a retail establishment, and flexible enough to use whichever raw components people would choose from a wide variety of selections. After a few trial-and-error episodes, the owner succeeded! He perfected a machine that could assemble a few separate things into a final product!
Next, the owner had to find stores in which to place his machines. These had to be places where customers can choose a few raw elements and then (for a modest fee) assemble your product right there in the store. Again, the company owner succeeded and found places all over the U.S. to place his machines.
Not sure yet? Okay, here’s a few more hints.
Some people walk into this shop once in their lifetimes to use the assembly machine just to see what it’s like. Other people go there a few times a month and walk out with a good number of assembled products. Certainly, instead of going to the custom “make-your-own” store, people more frequently go to stores to buy the same product, pre-assembled and shipped from some huge factory. But, the fact is some people prefer to do it themselves. I’ve even heard of people who hold parties this store and they invite a whole bunch of to people pick and choose their own preferred components, use the machines to assemble their products, and then walk out of the store happy as a lark.
This mystery company has more than 400 locations across the great United States, and they’re always ready to set down more. In fact, they’ve even gone international!
Okay, the answer is coming next, so let’s review; customers of this shop walk in and:
- PICK AND CHOOSE A CUSTOM BLEND OF UNASSEMBLED PRODUCTS
- USE A MACHINE TO ASSEMBLE THE PIECES OF THE PRODUCT
- PAY A FEE
- WALK OUT OF THE SHOP WITH THE ASSEMBLED PRODUCT IN HAND
You might have heard of this retail store. It’s very popular in malls and shopping centers. People often take children there for birthday parties. I’ve even seen one of these locations in a sports stadium! Did you guess?
That’s right! It’s the Build-A-Bear Workshop company. What a great place to spend time with the grandchildren seeing them choose and custom blend materials, clothes, fur and stuffing and see a furry friend created right before their very eyes!
You thought I was talking about rolling your own smokes at the corner tobacco shop, didn’t you?
I went through this exercise to point out how RIDICULOUS some members of Congress are when they try to abuse their power. So, Congress doesn’t care if you pay to put a bear together inside the mall (fur, stuffing, eyes, coloring, sewing, labeling, selling), but you CAN’T pay to put a smoke together inside a smoke shop. Oh that’s fair. Yah, that makes PERFECT sense.
RIGHT NOW, there is language in the U.S. Senate’s version of the 2012 highway bill that reclassifies smoke shop “retailers” as “manufacturers” IF you can buy your own blend of tobacco and roll it into a cigarette in their establishment.
IN CASE YOU DON’T BELIEVE ME, HERE’S THE ACTUAL LEGISLATIVE LANGUAGE IN THE SENATE HIGHWAY BILL:
SEC. 100116. ROLL-YOUR-OWN CIGARETTE MACHINES.
(a) In General- Subsection (d) of section 5702 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the following new flush sentence:
`Such term shall include any person who for commercial purposes makes available for consumer use (including such consumer’s personal consumption or use under paragraph (1)) a machine capable of making cigarettes, cigars, or other tobacco products. A person making such a machine available for consumer use shall be deemed the person making the removal as defined by subsection (j) with respect to any tobacco products manufactured by such machine.’.
(b) Effective Date- The amendment made by this section shall apply to articles removed after the date of the enactment of this Act.
To understand what it does, you have to refer to the tax code, etc. But the simplest way to read it is:
U.S. SENATE SAYS, “Build a Bear? YES. Build a Smoke? NO.”
WHERE IS THE CONSISTENCY? WHY SINGLE OUT SMOKE SHOPS?
I’ll tell you why smoke shops are singled out in such a sloppy, special way. Big Tobacco.
The companies that make up the Big Tobacco industry have been a little torqued ever since they found out people could custom make their own smokes. Why? Because every time I roll my own smoke, Big Tobacco doesn’t get a DIME of my money. Do you think Altria, a company that makes a billion dollars every 90 days likes that I can smoke without giving them money? No, they don’t. That’s why Altria, R.J.Reynolds and others banded together and between March 5, 2012 and March 31, 2012 and spent more than THREE MILLION DOLLARS pleading with Congress to pass H.R.4134, a bill that does the same thing as the Senate highway bill.
OUR MISSION: Continue to EXPOSE the Big Tobacco bailout for what it is, A FARCE. It’s a sellout to Big Tobacco. It’s a scandal that Big Tobacco is trying to hide. It’s anti-competitive! Let’s use our voices! Email, Twitter, Facebook, Phone, Stone Tablets, Morse Code. BE LOUD, BE CLEAR, BE A WARRIOR! The reason why we’re making progress on this is because we are CONSTANTLY talking. Members of Congress can’t hide or ignore this issue as long as we are active, so enjoy the rest of your Sunday, but please make some online contributions (some of you already have and thank you!). Next step: MONDAY!
Thanks for “bearing” with me through today’s message. You guys are great!