Write to your PA State Representative about Tobacco Tax Increase!

from the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly is considering several options to backfill Pennsylvania's budget deficit and enhance revenue. PFMA has been informed that several of these options include additional taxation on tobacco products, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes, OTP, and loose tobacco. Exact details are not yet available.

PFMA requests that all members contact their legislators by sending the following letter:

Take Action Now! Send Letter HERE.

Dear Representative:

I understand that additional taxes are being considered for cigarettes, e-cigarettes, loose tobacco, and other tobacco products as a method to generate revenue for the Pennsylvania budget. On behalf of our company and the people we employ, I ask that you consider the potential negative consequences that would result from additional taxes on tobacco products.

The popular misconception of tobacco taxes are that taxes are primarily felt by manufacturers, who can financially afford the burden. The reality is that the effects of these taxes reach far into Pennsylvania's communities. Please consider the following when deciding your position:

  • In an April 2016 survey of tobacco retailers, two of three retailers indicate that 20 percent or more of sales come from tobacco products. Taxes would push these sales from Pennsylvania retailers to neighboring states, internet sales, or the black market.
  • In the same survey, nearly three-quarters of retailers anticipate a net sales decrease from an additional one dollar excise tax on cigarettes, with 58 percent indicating that they would be forced to cut payroll costs as a result, and 45 percent indicating that they would be forced to lay off employees.
  • Pennsylvania's farmers are the sixth largest producers of tobacco in the US. Tobacco is grown in nearly one-third of Pennsylvania counties. At $1.6 billion of revenue per year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania receives 41 times more than the average tobacco farmer receives in farm subsidies.

While I recognize that the damage by taxes on tobacco products appear to be limited to tobacco companies and their customers, the evidence points to the effect being far greater on Pennsylvania's agriculture, retailer, and distributor communities, as well as the people we serve. I thank you for taking these factors into consideration during budget negotiations.


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