Tag Archives: senator max baucus

Wednesday Noon Update

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) holding a news conference today telling reporters (in code) the highway bill is done, all that’s left to do is twist arms until all the GOP get on board.

HIGHWAY BILL UPDATE: U.S. House Speaker John Boehner just held a news conference on Capitol Hill to give an update on the highway bill. He basically said the highway bill isn’t finished yet, but they’re close, and they’re working to tie the student loan interest rate issue into it.

TRANSLATION: The bill is finished and leadership is working to round up support on the House GOP side. According to CQ-Energy reporters (people who live and breathe this stuff and KNOW the important staff members in the negotiating room) OUT of the bill is Keystone XL. Also OUT of the bill is the Coal Ash stuff. Probably still IN the bill is the RYO provision.

WHAT NOW: The vulnerable people are the House Republicans sitting on the negotiating committee. The less time they’ve been in Washington, the more empathetic they are to our cause. Concentrate on the list of lawmakers on the blog this morning http://bit.ly/NewTax because IF THEY WANT TO, they can say NO to signing the bill unless the RYO provision is stripped.

SPECIAL FOCUS: Make sure you’re talking to Lankford, Ribble, Southerland, Herrera-Beutler, and Camp.

Keep going strong. Don’t let the wet-behind-the-ears intern answering the phone give you any grief, comfort, or false advice. We can win, but we have to keep pushing.

-GR

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You’re Not Listening

Hey Congress: You’re not listening. Or maybe you’re just choosing not to hear me, and him, and her, and them… all of them. Well, Congress. If you hear only one thing, hear this…

Today’s Message: @LawmakerXYZ The Baucus #BigTobacco bailout is a FRAUD on US free enterprise. Remove it from the highway bill http://bit.ly/NewTax

We are at DEFCON 1.

Good morning on Wednesday, June 26, 2012. It’s day THREE of make or break week and the danger is still imminent. Thank you for GREAT participation last night. We raised our voices and shattered some glass using Facebook and Twitter to go nuclear on members of Congress who are sitting on their thumbs, chattering their teeth and nervously hiding in the corner, afraid to confront the Big Tobacco bailout. We sounded the alarm because we are in condition critical. U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana) believes he has won with his favor to Big Tobacco intact. We must spur House Republican negotiators to STRIP the Baucus provision before they agree to the overall bill.

Hey Congress, there is NO reason to be afraid of Big Tobacco! Hit the bully in the nose, HURRY!

CONGRESSIONAL STAFF: PLEASE REMOVE THE FOLLOWING PROVISION FROM THE HIGHWAY BILL. Here is the provision inserted into the Senate’s version of the highway bill through S.Amdt1825 on March 8, 2012 (Senate roll call vote 29). There were dozens of pages and hundreds of lines in the amendment, but this was the very last piece:

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SEC. 40425. 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.”

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That’s it. That’s the language that is a fraud on free enterprise, a lie on paper in black and white, and something apparently so radioactive even the most conservative, freedom-loving members of Congress won’t touch with a ten-foot intern.

GUESS WHO SUPPORTS THE BIG TOBACCO BAILOUT AND LOST THEIR RE-ELECTION BID?

U.S. Rep John Sullivan (R-Oklahoma) lost his primary race last night in part because he supported the same-old-same-old Washington BS, including the Big Tobacco bailout.

CONGRESSPEOPLE, HERE ARE YOUR TALKING POINTS: Big Tobacco spent millions this year alone to put this provision in the bill. We want this provision out. Why?

  • Only the Big Tobacco companies will benefit under the Baucus provision in the U.S. 2012 highway bill.
  • The Big Tobacco companies spent more than $3 million in 20 days hiring 60 lobbyists urging inclusion of this provision.
  • The Baucus provision will “reclassify” 1,000 small retail tobacco shops as “tobacco manufacturers” crushing them with huge new taxes and regulations.
  • The Congressional Budget Office has already determined under the Baucus provision, these “reclassified” businesses will be forced to close.
  • A retail shop is NOT a “manufacturer” and must not be drowned with the same taxes and regulations as one.

OUR MISSION: This Baucus bailout stinks. It’s a dirty power grab by the Big Tobacco companies and the members of Congress who’ve been paid off. It must be stopped. Target the folks below on Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and phone calls. Dial the Capitol Hill operator at 202-224-3121 and ask for one of these members. There’s also TOLL FREE numbers you can call to reach the Capitol Hill switchboard. Try a Google search for “call your member of congress toll free”.

-GR

Transportation Committee Republicans / Leadership Members

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Tuesday Evening Action Alert

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MAKE OR BREAK WEEK UPDATE: TUESDAY EVENING
URGENT
We’re hearing word from our people on Capitol Hill this evening that the Baucus Big Tobacco bailout provision appears to be in the final highway bill. Baucus took control of the finance/taxes section and he clamped down on keeping his favor to Big Tobacco in the final version. This is not good news and we need to act NOW to raise holy hell with members. Most members of the Transportation bill conference committee have NOT seen the bill and it must be approved by the whole committee before it can be sent to the full House of Reps for a vote.
OUR MISSION
Light up all these members at the bottom of this post. They MUST know to act to strip the Baucus provision from the bill. If they don’t act, it will be EXTREMELY difficult to defeat the bill once it gets to the floor.
TWITTER AND FACEBOOK
TONIGHT’S MESSAGE: @LawmakerXYZ The job-killing Baucus #BigTobacco bailout is STILL in the highway bill. STRIP it 2NITE! http://bit.ly/NewTax
PHONE
Please Call: 202-224-3121 and ask for each member’s office from the list below. Tell them you want to see the Baucus “roll your own” tobacco provision stricken from the highway bill.

Transportation Committee Republicans / Leadership Members

Do it, friends. Hit them hard.

-GR

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Living in Denial

Today: Focus your energies on the Senate negotiators. They’re listed at the bottom of this post. And remember, they can block us from Facebook, unsubscribe us from their Twitter feeds, hang up the phone, burn our letters and ignore the writing on the wall, but we’re still here. We are spreading the word high and low, far and wide. Congress, please don’t sell out small businesses and their employees!

If this weren’t a favor to the Big Tobacco companies, then WHY did Big Tobacco spend more than $3 million dollars in 20 days hiring more than 60 lobbyists to lobby Congress SPECIFICALLY on this provision??!!

Good morning and hello Tuesday, June 26, 2012! If this is your first time here, we are discussing the Big Tobacco bailout that’s been stuffed into the highway bill. It essentially uses the power of the Federal government to prohibit small retail tobacco shops from providing “roll your own smokes” services, handing Big Tobacco a complete monopoly on cigarette sales (they only have 99.9% monopoly now). Now, if the Big Tobacco bailout stays in the highway bill and becomes law, more than 1,000 small businesses will be forced to close. How did we get here? Well, here’s what happened:

If this weren’t a favor to the Big Tobacco companies, then WHY did Big Tobacco spend more than $3 million dollars in 20 days hiring more than 60 lobbyists to lobby Congress SPECIFICALLY on this provision??!!

On March 8, 2012, U.S. Senator Max Baucus (pictured above) introduced amendment S.Amdt 1825 to the highway bill. If you look at the title and the first few dozen pages of language, it looks like a bill to reauthorize “the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 and to provide full funding for the Payments in Lieu of Taxes program for 1 year, and for other purposes.”

OTHER PURPOSES: The VERY LAST provision in Max’s maxi-amendment was this (pardon the wet ink):

SEC. 40425. 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.”

WHAT THE HECK do cigarettes have to do with highways? Oh that’s right, NOTHING. Nice move, Max.

So if you look at the tax code, you’ll find the provision above “reclassifies” retail shops as “manufacturers of tobacco products” and subjects them to all sorts of new taxes and regulations. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has taken a look at the situation and has determined that no small business will be able to survive the reclassification and will be forced to close, or else the jack-booted thugs will break down their doors and haul everyone to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

If this weren’t a favor to the Big Tobacco companies, then WHY did Big Tobacco spend $3 million in 20 days hiring 60 lobbyists to push specifically for this provision??!!

Esteemed members of the U.S. Congress: PLEASE STRIP THE BAUCUS BIG TOBACCO BAILOUT FROM THE HIGHWAY BILL!

The talking points in support of the Big Tobacco bailout are this: “We’re closing a tax loophole.”

Our response, “Bulls**t.”

If this weren’t a favor to the Big Tobacco companies, then WHY did Big Tobacco spend more than $3 million dollars in 20 days hiring more than 60 lobbyists to lobby Congress SPECIFICALLY on this provision??!!

Outside of this blog, the Baucus Big Tobacco bailout has never been exposed to direct sunlight. Not one public hearing. Not one minute of testimony from CBO, nothing from small business owners, nor people like me who enjoy rolling their own custom blended smokes. No public clamoring, no hue and cry for Congress to act. No Dateline NBC piece with dramatic music, pretty lighting, and a guy running from reporters. Nope, nothing. Just some lucky lobbyists who were able to buy a congressional Finance Committee staffer a couple dinners, grease the skids with a few campaign contributions, and gather up some convenience store and warehouse support (people who make money off Big Tobacco sales) as thin and transparent cover for Big Tobacco’s power play.

TODAY’S MESSAGE: @LawmakerXYZ Don’t use the highway bill for a #BigTobacco bailout! #Smallbiz jobs at stake! http://bit.ly/NewTax

Congress: If you let Big Tobacco have this, more than 1,000 small businesses will close, throwing 10,000 people out of work. Big Tobacco already has 99.9% market share! But they’re greedy; they want more; and they’re using YOU, Congress, to get their way. STOP the Big Tobacco bailout! You have the power and you have the ability to make things right. Public policy should not be created this way. This is nothing but a dirty, lowdown, Big Tobacco sponsored favor to the bad guys.

-GR

TODAY’S FAVORITE PEOPLE ARE IN THE SENATE!

Democrats

Republicans

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You Can’t Hide a Big Tobacco Bailout

Hello and I sincerely hope you’re having a great Sunday, June 10, 2012!  What a wonderful day for a drive along one of those highways Congress approved so many years ago. That long layer of asphalt tattooed with infinite yellow and white lines was someone’s idea for promoting commerce and establishing a route between here and there. Isn’t it ironic then that Congress is on the verge of shutting down commerce and fair trade by using the highway bill for a Big Tobacco bailout?

It’s Sunday, almost summer, the sun’s up, and we have family chores to do so I’ll be brief. Focus your efforts on the targets I called out yesterday and make sure you’re talking to your local members of Congress. These people we sent to Washington, D.C. to represent our views must hear from us. We must let them know the Big Tobacco bailout has been exposed, we’re on to their scheme, it’s wrong, and Congress must stop it.

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

CONGRESSIONAL UPDATE: The U.S. House of Representatives is out on another recess, also known as a “district work period” so keep your eyes pealed for your local member of Congress in your community. A lot of lawmakers maximize their recess time by touring companies, mugging for local TV and radio, and talking with civic groups. If your member of Congress is in town hosting an event, drop by and say hi, and be sure to ask them about the Big Tobacco bailout that’s stuffed in the Senate version of the highway bill. Find out whether they will oppose the Big Tobacco bailout and report back here so we can spread the word.

TALKS CONTINUE: Nothing new to report on the highway bill talks. It’s all happening behind closed doors and in private so let’s keep telling members to STOP the Big Tobacco bailout from becoming part of the final highway bill. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has hinted he’s ready to stop trying to get a highway bill passed and will instead move a six-month extension. That’s good and removes a vehicle the dark forces can try to use for their nefarious Big Tobacco bailout.

U.S. Rep. Lee Terry (R-Nebraska) sold out to Big Tobacco in a VERY slimy way waiting to endorse their bill until after his GOP primary election.

WHY ARE YOU HIDING: We’ve been on the trail of a number of members of Congress for some time now, asking them repeatedly where they stand, and STILL there are some keeping mum on this back room deal. Some lawmakers have committed to reviewing the issue; others have been forthright in their opposition to the Big Tobacco bailout. Funny thing is, a handful of members of Congress have kept quiet, and then in the middle of the night they give their okay to signing on to HR4134. One member of Congress, Lee Terry of Nebraska, waited until after the day after his primary election win to sign on to the bill. We assume that was so his opponents couldn’t use his support for a tax hike and regulatory dump on small business against him. Slimy. If you’re thinking about supporting the Big Tobacco bailout, just tell us! Be honest. And then give us the opportunity to explain our side. That’s all we ask.

U.S. Rep Diane Black (R-Tennessee) sold out to Big Tobacco by introducing a bill they wrote. The bill seeks to shut down more than 1,000 small businesses.

Send your messages now! Facebook, Twitter, email, phone, lantern hanging from the church steeple. Work on the 4, 4, 4 plan. Four messages this morning. Four more this afternoon. Four before dinner. Talk to these lawmakers and make them understand we are not going away. We were fine going about our business, until Big Tobacco started trying to shut us down. Now, we are at war. If we are not advancing, we are retreating so GO and be productive.

Happy Sunday campers and look forward to a GREAT online week!

-GR

 

 

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Our Strength: Persistence

Our strength is our persistence.

Members of Congress and loyal Capitol Hill staff members: We have directed you to this site to inform you about the Big Tobacco bailout, and to introduce you to the people you will hurt if the Big Tobacco bailout isn’t stopped. View this video, please:

Welcome to FRIDAY, June 8, 2012! I’m going to quickly run through a bunch of things today, so please bear with me.

CONGRESSIONAL UPDATE: The back-and-forth continues between House and Senate. Now more folks are predicting an extension of current authorization instead of passing the big burrito. Keeping a careful eye on this, but it’s difficult when the lead negotiators (Boxer/Mica) are trying to do everything private-like and behind closed doors. Our Capitol Hill moles tell us the new Senate offer proffered this week looks a lot like the bill the Senate passed with a couple tweaks. Fake effort. Boo. Stay tuned.

TWITTER NEWS: Calling out a popular tweet from yesterday coming from Congressman Justin Amash (R-Michigan). He’s active on the social media networks and took time to respond to fellow warrior Julie, agreeing to review the Big Tobacco bailout. Here’s Congressman Amash’s Tweet:

repjustinamash: .@JulieRauzan I’m taking a look at what you posted.

U.S. Rep. Amash: Speaking his mind. Keeping Congress transparent.

We anxiously await Congressman Amash’s response (hint, hint), and we are hopeful he will stick to his ideals of libertarianism and transparency. If you’ve not visited his Facebook page, please do and like it because he posts a LOT of information about what he does in Congress.

FRIDAY BASICS ABOUT THE BIG TOBACCO BAILOUT (this is for newbies):

WHAT IS IT: The Big Tobacco bailout is Federal legislation attempting to “reclassify” small tobacco shops where you can roll your own smokes. The “reclassification” would instantly change the tobacco shop’s designation from “retailer” to “manufacturer” and subject these small businesses to heaps of new regulations and higher taxes. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the reclassification would put these small businesses OUT of business immediately.

WHERE IS IT: The Big Tobacco bailout exists in two forms. One form is a provision currently included in the U.S. Senate’s version of the 2012 highway bill. Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana) slipped it in there in the middle of the night. The other form is a bill (HR4134) introduced by Representative Diane Black (R-Tennessee). Both of these forms do exactly the same thing and the lawmakers backing them won’t talk about them publicly.

WHY IS IT: When I roll my own smoke, the Big Tobacco companies don’t make money off me. That’s why Big Tobacco companies like Altria and R.J.Reynolds spent more than THREE MILLION DOLLARS in just 20 days this year lobbying Congress to approve HR4134. Senator Baucus and Representative Black will tell you they’re doing what they’re doing to close a loophole, but the truth is they’re doing it for Big Tobacco.

WHO IS IT: Who wants the Big Tobacco bailout? Big Tobacco does. To verify this, go here: http://soprweb.senate.gov/index.cfm?event=selectfields, check the box “specific lobbying issue” and in the next screen, type in 4134 and hit enter. A bunch of records of who is lobbying Congress on HR4134 will come up. Sort by date and take a look at the army of lobbyists calling on Congress during the first quarter of 2012.

WHAT’S DIRTY ABOUT IT: I started blogging about the Big Tobacco bailout because I didn’t like the fact that the government wanted to take away my freedom to roll my own smokes. When I learned HOW the government was going to do it, using a backdoor, anti-competitive “reclassification” to suffocate small business with taxes and regulations, I got even more involved. Then, when I learned the Big Tobacco companies were bankrolling the bailout using millions of dollars and dozens of Capitol Hill lobbyists, I got downright angry. So the Big Tobacco companies heap THOUSANDS of dollars in campaign contributions on members of Congress, then heap MILLIONS on lobbyists, and use coordinated tactics to pressure lawmakers into acting on a measure that will kill competition… you tell ME what’s dirty about it.

ANOTHER FACT: This Big Tobacco bailout, according to the CBO, will close more than 1,000 small businesses across the United States. Multiply that figure by the number of employees at each establishment. Then add in the cascading economic impact of that many people losing their jobs. When Congress talks about a “jobs” plan, I didn’t think they wanted to eliminate them.

ONE MORE JAB: Using the Federal government to crush competition is disgraceful. When it’s Big Tobacco pulling the strings of Congress, that’s even worse. Adding insult to injury is when members of Congress go on television and talk about reducing regulation and freeing small business from the pressures of government, and then they turn around and support HR4134, well that’s just plain backstabbing and treacherous. Right, Rep. Marsha Blackburn? Right, Rep. Diane Black?

We call her “double-agent”. You can call her Rep. Marsha Blackburn.

This is a darling picture of a water buffalo.

Today’s Message: @LawmakerXYZ Stop it. Strip it. Get rid of it. The #BigTobacco bailout in the highway bill is a #jobs killer! http://bit.ly/NewTax

(Please replace “@LawmakerXYZ” with your local member of Congress’s Twitter handle. You can find it on their website or by searching Twitter.)

FINALLY: I’m fighting the Big Tobacco bailout because I want to keep my freedom and I want to help people keep their jobs. I’m also fighting it because this kind of governing isn’t representative of the people. Every day, government at some level is working to take more. You name it, they want to take it. Money, property, freedoms. Am I overstating things? Think about Mayor Bloomberg and his effort to reduce soft drink cup sizes. Talk about ridiculous. I don’t need government to make decisions for me. I can do that myself, thank you very much. Stand with me and draw the line. Don’t let them cross into any more freedoms. This is about fairness, the little guy, and standing up for what’s right. Charge on, warrior. Take our fight back to the Twitters and Facebooks and I will see you online.

-GR

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Two Critical Weeks…

I’ll be brief because we have a LOT of work to do today and in the coming two weeks.

Hello and welcome to the Thursday, June 7, 2012 edition of TaxTracker – a blog dedicated to exposing and stopping the Big Tobacco bailout.

We’re in the window. Between now and June 30, Congress will either pass a new highway bill, or it won’t. June 30 is when the current highway bill extension expires. If members fail to pass a big highway bill, Congress can approve another extension, but a lot of people want the big burrito. If Congress passes one of the Senate versions of a highway bill, it’s likely to contain the Big Tobacco bailout. That would be BAD news. Bad news for people like me who like to roll my own smokes. Bad news for more than 1,000 small businesses offering custom tobacco blends and roll your own services. Bad news for the people working at those 1,000-plus small businesses. The only people happy if the Big Tobacco bailout is approved are the Big Tobacco executives eyeing their next yacht or private jet purchase.

Published in Politico newspaper, Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Congressman John Mica (R-Florida) confirms we’re in “two critical weeks.” My advice to members of Congress looking at this big mess is this: Haste makes waste. Hasty actions by Congress are dangerous. Read the bill and don’t waste your opportunity to strip the Big Tobacco bailout from the highway bill.

TODAY’S MESSAGE: @LawmakerXYZ Don’t pollute the highway bill with a #BigTobacco bailout. Save jobs. STOP HR4134. http://bit.ly/NewTax

FOCUS: These people are the House highway bill negotiators. They have the power to strip the Big Tobacco bailout from the highway bill. They are our first line of defense against the U.S. Government taking away our ability to roll our own smokes. We MUST encourage them to stand firm against letting Big Tobacco dictate terms that amount to unfair competition.

Republicans

Democrats

TEAM MISSION: Keep up your great actions. You are making a lot of noise, and a remarkable difference. If we relent, we lose. If we blink, Big Tobacco will swoop in like a vulture pounces on putrid road kill. Talk with your local members of Congress. Talk to the people on the list above. Report your progress. Facebook, Twitter, phone, email, graffiti on the local tavern. Encourage like-minded people to weigh in with their members of Congress. The Big Tobacco bailout is the dirtiest scheme I’ve seen in a long time, so let’s expose it AND stop it! Over and out.

– GR

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Sunday Quick Quiz

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?

American Entrepreneurship is Alive!

Build-A-Bear in action!

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?

Smirking, not laughing.

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:

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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.

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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!

-GR

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Fighting the Good Fight

This Weekend’s Message: @LawmakerXYZ a #BigTobacco bailout is NOT a #jobs plan. SAVE #jobs and STOP HR4134. http://bit.ly/NewTax

The soup line, courtesy of Big Tobacco, coming soon to a home town near you.

Persistence.

Persistence is what defines a movement. Without persistence, what do you have? A fading memory. Fading memories last about a second longer than a shadow cast by a ripple of water. Not long.

Good morning and hello Saturday, June 2, 2012! Yesterday’s unemployment numbers show a persistent sluggishness in our economy. If you dig beyond the 8.2% unemployment rate, you see that only 63.6% of people over the age of 16 are participating in the workforce. That’s the worst workforce participation rate since 1981. Something’s gotta give.

A lot of fingerpointing going on in Washington…

Today, President Obama blamed Congress for failing to tax millionaires and act on so-called “jobs” legislation. Yesterday, members of Congress blamed President Obama for policies that have stifled economic growth. My thought is both are to blame. Our economy is suffering because the job creators of our nation, namely small businesses, are already overburdened by illogical tax rates and too much needless regulation and we have no ability to know with certainty what sort of tax and regulatory scheme is coming next.

Take, for instance, the Big Tobacco bailout contained in the Senate’s version of the national highway bill. This provision, drafted by Big Tobacco’s sexy and leggy lobbyists and inserted in the middle of the night by misogynist Bob Packwood U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana), seeks to reclassify small retail tobacco shops where you can blend and roll your own smokes. If jovial Max’s provision is allowed to stay in the highway bill, the U.S. Government will see these small tobacco shops as “tobacco manufacturing facilities” and heap on all kinds of new taxes and regulations. According to the Congressional Budget Office, that single provision will CLOSE more than 1,000 small businesses across our great nation. Thanks for something worse than nothing, Max!

U.S. Senator Max Baucus and his 2nd of 3 wives, Wanda.

This “Baucus” Big Tobacco bailout provision will shove small tobacco shops out of business, including:

  • 101 employers in Florida;
  • 55 employers in Indiana;
  • 35 employers in Kentucky;
  • 22 employers in Michigan;
  • 29 employers in New York;
  • 138 employers in Ohio;
  • 105 employers in Pennsylvania;
  • 40 employers in Tennessee;
  • 12 employers in South Carolina; and
  • 52 employers in Wisconsin.

Really? This is what we sent people to our nation’s capital city to do? Eliminate jobs and competition for the SOLE benefit of Big Tobacco? REALLY?

You see, if Big Tobacco can get Congress to “reclassify” small “roll your own smokes” tobacco shops as “manufacturing facilities” and drive them out of business with unbearable taxes and regulations, then Big Tobacco thinks it will make more money by reaping those customers who will switch back to commercial smokes.

ENTER THE WATER BUFFALO

Who else is pushing for this Big Tobacco bailout? Rep. Diane Black (R-Tennessee) is pushing for the Big Tobacco bailout with her legislation (authored by Big Tobacco) H.R.4134. Big Tobacco wants her bill SO bad, they spent more than $3 million in fewer than 20 days lobbying Congress to approve the bill. But that’s just what’s been publicly disclosed, so far. WHO KNOWS what’s going on behind the scenes where no one’s looking…

Pic from a recent Big Tobacco party for lawmakers backing HR4134

OUR MISSION: PERSISTENCE. Hit the Facebook. Hit the Twitter. Hit it high, hit it low. Here’s a list of some of the people supporting HR4134 and how many businesses will suffer if it, or its provisions, are signed into law. Let’s let them know we are not pleased:

  • Rep Pastor, Ed [AZ-4] – 4/16/2012 –HR 4134 will close 23 businesses in Arizona.
  • Rep Rooney, Thomas J. [FL-16] – 3/29/2012  – HR 4134 will close 101 businesses in Florida.
  • Rep Hastings, Alcee L. [FL-23] – 3/28/2012
  • Rep Barrow, John [GA-12] – 3/27/2012
  • Rep Scott, Austin [GA-8] – 4/17/2012 – HR4134 will close 14 businesses in Georgia.
  • Rep Scott, David [GA-13] – 4/24/2012
  • Rep Rokita, Todd [IN-4] – 5/7/2012  – HR4134 will close 55 businesses in Indiana
  • Rep Yoder, Kevin [KS-3] – 3/26/2012 – HR 4134 will close 15 small businesses in Kansas
  • Rep Chandler, Ben [KY-6] – 5/16/2012 HR4134 will close 35 small businesses in Kentucky.
  • Rep Yarmuth, John A. [KY-3] – 5/31/2012
  • Rep Dingell, John D. [MI-15] – 5/10/2012 – 22 small businesses
  • Rep Carnahan, Russ [MO-3] – 4/16/2012 – 12 small businesses
  • Rep Cleaver, Emanuel [MO-5] – 4/24/2012
  • Rep Harper, Gregg [MS-3] – 4/18/2012 – 6 small businesses
  • Rep Thompson, Bennie G. [MS-2] – 3/28/2012
  • Rep Rehberg, Denny [MT] – 3/27/2012 – 2
  • Rep Butterfield, G. K. [NC-1] – 4/24/2012 – 8 small businesses
  • Rep Coble, Howard [NC-6] – 3/21/2012
  • Rep Ellmers, Renee L. [NC-2] – 3/8/2012
  • Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [NC-3] – 3/26/2012
  • Rep McIntyre, Mike [NC-7] – 3/30/2012
  • Rep Crowley, Joseph [NY-7] – 3/7/2012 – 29 small businesses
  • Rep Buerkle, Ann Marie [NY-25] – 3/28/2012
  • Rep Meeks, Gregory W. [NY-6] – 4/24/2012
  • Rep Owens, William L. [NY-23] – 3/29/2012
  • Rep Rangel, Charles B. [NY-15] – 3/16/2012
  • Rep Stivers, Steve [OH-15] – 4/19/2012 – 138 businesses in Ohio
  • Rep Marino, Tom [PA-10] – 3/21/2012 – 105 businesses in Pennsylvania
  • Rep Shuster, Bill [PA-9] – 4/16/2012
  • Rep Wilson, Joe [SC-2] – 5/7/2012 – 12 businesses
  • Rep Blackburn, Marsha [TN-7] – 4/24/2012 – 40 small businesses
  • Rep Black, Diane [TN-original sellout]
  • Rep Kind, Ron [WI-3] – 3/20/2012  – 52 small businesses

More tomorrow. See you online fellow warrior and GOOD WORK!!

-GR

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You Asked For It

A rare Tax Tracker mid-morning update: We had our friends in the field ask questions of REAL PEOPLE who have REAL JOBS connected to small tobacco shops where you can roll your own smokes. We put the clips together and their words and feelings come through loud and clear.

It’s about free enterprise, fair competition, and keeping a job. Please share.

Congress… are you listening, yet?

Let’s blow this up on Twitter and Facebook, okay troops?

-GR

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