25 July, 2007

Your Help Is Needed!

The industry has been going crazy in trying to fight yet another tax hike on tobacco. All our favorite blogs have multiple entries on the subject, it's been a subject of news articles, television news, and letter writing from some of our favorite manufacturers. Tonight, we're sad to report that activity is moving fast and furious on the pending SCHIP bill. The House of RepresentativesThe Shakedown! Ways and Means Committee is in the process of drafting legislation today and tomorrow that would increase cigar taxes by 115% from the current 20.7% to 44.6% and raise the cap 1,952% from $.04875 to $1.00 per cigar. While this is some improvement over the Senate version (thanks to all the calls and emails you sent the first time), this additional tax is still way too much - it would increase your retail prices by as much as 70%. A cigar that retails for $4.50, for instance, would retail for $7.50.

There is speculation that the Democratic leadership wants to try to pass the SCHIP bill before the August 3 recess so that the Democrats can add it to their list of achievements before they go home to face their constituents. If the House and Senate enact legislation before August 3, a conference committee is likely to meet in September to resolve the differences between the two measures. A consensus on the two different bills must be reached before the legislation is forwarded to the White House. We still understand that President Bush has threatened to veto the legislation.

SCHIP...what is it?

State Children's Health Insurance Program. SCHIP is a national program in the United States designed for families who earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid, yet cannot afford to buy private insurance. The program was created to address the growing problem of children in the United States without health insurance. We definitely feel that this is a valid program that does a lot of good for a lot of kids, we feel that there's better ways to go about funding this program instead of increasing the burden on a truly mom & pops industry.

What Does This All Mean?

This means, small shops will suffer, We need to act immediately! Call, email or write a letter to congress! The RTDA has made the process extremely simple by including a locator to find who you should contact and talking points to include in your email. We here at Grant's are making it easy and beneficial for you to exercise your rights. Through August 1st, we'll have petitions for you to sign in our store. Anybody who signs the petition will receive a 15% discount off of your purchase.

Act now!

Tell my Congressmen NO!

Tell the Ways & Means Committee Chairman NO!

Or write and/or call him:

Charles B. Rangel, NY

New York Office

163 West 125th Street, Suite #737

New York, NY 10027

Phone: (212) 663-3900

Fax: (212) 663-4277


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