/PRNewswire/ -- The following is being released today by the Council of Independent Tobacco Manufacturers of America:
At a time of national economic crisis and with job loss announcements racking up daily in the tens of thousands, why won't Senate and House Democrats take action to save tens of thousands of jobs through the simple stroke of a pen? The proposed S-Chip legislation that will come before the Senate this week contains a little noticed funding provision that will increase the federal excise tax on roll-your-own (RYO) tobacco from $1 per pound of tobacco, to over $24 per pound: a staggering 2,100% increase. To put the proposed increase into perspective, in the same bill, the tax on a pack of cigarettes will rise by only 156%, from 39 cents per pack to $1.00 per pack, and the excise tax on other tobacco products, such as smokeless and pipe tobacco, will more or less double. Indications from the Hill suggest the high excise tax on RYO may be a result of some bad math in legislative drafting of the bill.
One could argue, well it's tobacco, and who cares anyway? But with tens of thousands of industry jobs dependent on this little segment of the overall tobacco industry, it would seem little effort is required by this Congress to achieve some 'stimulus' for the economy, simply by taking the excise tax increase on RYO back to the $8.92 per pound level proposed in the earlier version of S-CHIP, that House and Senate members voted on in late 2008.
It would perhaps behoove our political leaders to make the easy saves in the economy that would help keep hard working Americans gainfully employed right now. This is an easy fix for Congress, so what strong-minded stimulus driven Democrat will rise to the occasion and help save tens of thousands of jobs at the stroke of a pen by writing $8.92, instead of $24. It's your guess.