Yes, you read my headline correctly. The Senate currently has a bill up for debate that would raise money for children’s heathcare by increasing taxes on cigarettes and cigars. Cigars are the highest hit, going from a cap of 5 cents to a cap of 10 dollars. A large premium cigar could cost an additional $10 if this bill is passed. That would be a 20000 percent increase in federal tax on an individual cigar.
Here are some good reaction pieces:
The gist of things is that the bill will put cigar makers and cigar shops out of business if passed into law. I enjoy an occasional cigar, but if you tack on an extra $10, I really wouldn’t be able to afford to buy them any more. A friend of mine runs a cigar shop. That’s how he makes his living. The regulars (myself included) are not rich people. We will walk in once in awhile, sit down and enjoy a cigar or two. Once in awhile we might buy a box of 20 for a special occasion, but this tax would pretty much eliminate all of that. The law would also require my friend to pay back taxes on existing stock to ‘true up.’ The amount of money he would have to pay would put him out of business. That’s a husband and wife small business put out of work. Cigar smokers are not all rich people wearing top hats and driving expensive cars. We are regular folks that enjoy a fine smoke once in awhile.
We are already banned from smoking pretty much anywhere. I can basically have a cigar in my yard or at my cigar shop. That’s it. So allow me to do that in peace without EXORBITANT taxes. Now, I’m all for some tax. Feel free to tax me more than a nickel. I agree that cigars are a luxury and should be taxed a bit. But let’s not charge me up to $10 a cigar. There currently is a bill in the House that caps the tax at $1 and doesn’t make shops pay the back taxes. To me that’s fair. It’s going to cost me more, but not make it so I cannot continue my hobby.
Now, either way Bush has said that he will veto the $10 a cigar bill. I think that’s why so many Senators are showing support for the bill. They can claim to support the tax to help children, knowing full well that it won’t get passed into law. Looks good to the voters who aren’t cigar smokers. Never mind that if the bill passed, the cigar industry (in THIS country) would die off and they wouldn’t make any money for the children anyway.
Now I’m not against taxes in general. But I already pay on everything I make and everything I spend. To keep jacking up everything when I’m already taxed to death doesn’t sit well with me. And for those who think it’s a good idea, what happens when they come after your vice? Will you be as gung-ho then?
My guess is no.