Hey Big Tobacco, Fuggedaboutit.

“Small Tobacco Shops… I am your father!”

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… a great adventure took placef

Good morning and happy Saturday, June 9, 2012! I think I’ll make a batch of beer this afternoon. Hopefully, Big Tobacco won’t ask Congress to reclassify me as a manufacturer and tax and regulate me out of business.

The Golden Rule: “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.” Darth Vader should have followed that rule. He would have had a MUCH better time of it. Though as we saw in the “last” Star Wars film, he eventually did come around (I actually felt sorry for the guy!).

Anyway, I mention this to illustrate the HUGE decision members of Congress are facing in dealing with the highway bill and the Big Tobacco bailout.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE BIG TOBACCO BAILOUT: In the Senate’s version of the highway bill there’s a provision to “reclassify” small tobacco shops where you can roll your own smokes as “manufacturers” as opposed to their current designation as “retailers.” This “reclassification” will immediately subject about 1,000 small businesses across the US to HUGE new taxes and regulations, effectively (according to the Congressional Budget Office) putting all 1,000 OUT of business. It’s called the “Big Tobacco” bailout because they have spent MILLIONS of dollars this year putting more than 100 lobbyists on Capitol Hill telling members of Congress to pass this provision. Hell, Big Tobacco wrote the damn thing!

WHAT WE’RE DOING: We are asking members of Congress to STRIP that provision OUT of the highway bill. It doesn’t belong there. It’s not fair. It’s a provision that hasn’t had a single public hearing or one minute of testimony from anyone who would be impacted.  We are also asking U.S. Representative Diane Black (R-Tennessee) to withdraw her legislation, H.R.4134, that is identical in nature. Her bill is a Big Tobacco bailout and has NOTHING to do with free enterprise or closing so-called tax loopholes.

“Sorry Pop, I gotta kick your tail.”

WHO ARE WE: I’m a freedom-loving guy who likes to roll his own smokes. I have friends who either own a small business or work at one where tobacco can be blended and rolled into custom smokes. Together, we are working to expose the Big Tobacco bailout for exactly what it is – a sellout. It’s a sellout by members of Congress who’ve taken thousands of dollars in campaign cash from Big Tobacco, and now they’re repaying the favor with special legislation.

Oh sure, there are some members who will plead ignorance on the sellout. That’s why we’re active. We are telling members and their offices, “HEY LOOK, there’s a Big Tobacco bailout in the highway bill and YOU need to STOP it.”

THE GOLDEN RULE: Some members of Congress don’t have any direct interest in protecting people’s ability to roll their own smokes. They don’t smoke, or they don’t really understand the issue, or they don’t care if 1,000 small businesses are forced out by a “reclassification” as long as Big Tobacco is happy. Our issue isn’t big or sexy enough for a star celebrity or newspaper writer to champion our cause; we’re not able to shower congresspeople with cash and rich dinners (like Big Tobacco); and face it, we don’t have a history of mixing in other people’s business. We’ve been doing our jobs, minding our own business, living the Golden Rule and scratching it out the best we can.

So along comes Big Tobacco to smash small tobacco shops. They don’t like it when we roll our own because… THEY DON’T MAKE MONEY OFF US! Who will help us? Thankfully, U.S. Rep. Steve LaTourette is fighting for us. Others are lining up, too and we’re hearing of more support every day. This is good. These folks don’t have anything to gain by fighting Big Tobacco, but they’re doing it anyway because there are foundational issues at stake. Free enterprise. Fair competition. Unencumbered commerce. And rejecting corruption. Thank you Steve LaTourette and all others standing strong with us. We appreciate what you’re doing.

What LaTourette and others are doing is living by the Golden Rule. They’re also fighting for those who don’t have the power to protect themselves in the corridors of Congress. I’ve said it a bunch on Twitter, and I’ll say it here: If Big Tobacco succeeds in crushing small tobacco shops, they will go after other areas. No interest is safe from the clutches of Big Tobacco’s greed.

Here’s where we win: We have spirit, Big Tobacco only offers cash. We’re loyal, Big Tobacco will slit your throat if it helps their bottom line. Congress, you have to wake up and fight this one. It’s dirty government of the highest magnitude.

TODAY’S MESSAGE: #LawmakerXYZ Tell Congress STOP the #BigTobacco bailout in the highway bill B4 it’s too late. http://bit.ly/NewTax

Feel like talking? Call your member directly: http://congress.org/congressorg/directory/congdir.tt

Tweet your member. Facebook your member. Here’s a good list of target members. For your member of Congress, visit their official and/or campaign sites and look for the Twitter and Facebook badges.

Republicans

Democrats

Have a great weekend, thanks for stopping by TaxTracker, and let’s fight online for VICTORY!

-GR

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