Today’s Message: @LawmakerXYZ HR4134 is a #BigTobacco bailout tax hike sneaked into the highway bill. Stop the sellout and save jobs! http://bit.ly/NewTax
Maybe Miss Pennsylvania was on to something when she said the contest was fixed? You know, like how some in Congress want to fix a Big Tobacco bailout…
Okay, yesterday I was ticked off. U.S. House Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) went on FOX News Monday telling Bill Hemmer she was ALL against the U.S. government weighing down business with regulation. SIX TIMES she said she wanted government to get off the backs of the job creators here in our United States. But the truth is she supports legislation that will CRUSH more than 1,000 small businesses for the SOLE BENEFIT of the Big Tobacco companies. So I blew off some steam and maybe, MAYBE I was a little rough in calling her a “double agent.”
So last night, I was all set to offer Congresswoman Blackburn an opportunity to sit down in the backyard over some beers and talk this thing out, but then she tweeted this:
“The House just passed my amendment to put an end to the practice of the Federal government picking winners and losers. #DOE #Solyndra”
This. Means. War.
There is no more clear case of Congress trying to use the Federal government to pick “winners and losers” than H.R.4134, the Big Tobacco bailout.
H.R.4134 is a bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn) and supported by U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn. Its provisions are also contained in the U.S. Senate’s version of the highway bill and our aim is to stop this bailout.
Here’s HOW the law will use the Federal government to pick winners and losers:
The official 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.”
The practical effect of this is it will FORBID small tobacco shops from offering customers the choice of rolling their own smokes. How? Reclassifying small retail shops as “manufacturers” subjects them to MOUNTAINS of new taxes and regulations, and zones them OUT of retail locations. According to the Congressional Budget Office, this will SHUT DOWN any small businesses that tries to continue operating under the new classification.
Loser picked = Small Business. Winner picked = Big Tobacco.
Big Tobacco figures that if you and I can’t roll our own cigarettes, we’ll buy theirs. If we buy Big Tobacco’s crappy cigarettes, Johnny Executive gets a new private jet. Look, I’m all for people and companies making money and succeeding, but don’t do it by using Congress to write fair competition out of law. Big Tobacco shouldn’t be given a monopoly on smokes. And Congress should open their eyes to this sham and travesty of justice.
Here’s another funny thing. H.R.4134 will supposedly collect money from small retail establishments where you can roll your own smokes and put that “new money” toward deficit reduction. Only it won’t. Again, the Congressional Budget Office says NO revenues will be collected for deficit reduction because the small retail shops will have been put out of business by the Federal government!
So I ask you: Should we make peace with those trying to shut down our freedom to roll our own smokes? Should we go along to get along with those who SAY they’re against Federal regulations, but then heap new regulations on small business? Should we trust a congressperson who SAYS she doesn’t want the Federal government picking winners and losers, but then does that very thing by supporting H.R.4134?
No, we shouldn’t, and no we won’t. U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn, shame on you. I realize you’ve taken at least $24,500 from Altria’s PAC for your congressional campaigns, but that doesn’t mean you have to do Big Tobacco’s bidding. And shame on your Baltimore-swinging colleague Rep. Diane Black for introducing the bill on behalf of Big Tobacco in the first place. This is NOT what Congress was meant to do and there is NOTHING more atrocious than a government picking winners and losers ESPECIALLY when the winner is Big Tobacco.
There it is, friends. Our mission today is to continue talking with the members who can make a difference.
CONGRESSIONAL UPDATE: As TaxTracker predicted, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer introduced her alternative highway bill yesterday. Well, she kind of introduced it by hosting a telephone conference call with “stakeholders” to tell them about it. She hasn’t released the text of the new bill publicly, yet. She did apparently give the new bill to the House highway bill negotiators and told them it was the Senate’s bipartisan offer. House members have yet to weigh in yet with what they think of the offer. My thought is they’ll reject it. We’ll ask our moles today what they know and report back.
FOCUS: Reach out and touch on Twitter and Facebook, and here are some folks we can effectively discuss our matter with today (Twitter handles):