Mood of America Says No New Taxes in Utah, Reminds Premium Cigar Group


Voters Prefer Delivering on Campaign Promises
Salt Lake City, Utah 1/29/2010 02:27 PM GMT (TransWorldNews)

IPCPRAs Utah legislators contemplate raising taxes on tobacco products, the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association is reminding them that voters across the board are against new taxes and in favor of delivering on campaign promises.

Some Utah state representatives and senators are talking about new tobacco taxes even as Governor Gary Herbert has proclaimed that there shall be no new taxes of any kind.  The IPCPR, a non-profit association of some 2,000 retail tobacconists and manufacturers and distributors of premium cigars, pipes, tobaccos and related accessories, called this the kind of “disconnect” that is leading to voter revolts across America.

“Utah voters are among the most savvy in the country,” said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR.  “They know when they are being led down a primrose path intentionally or otherwise by their legislators who say one thing and do another.  And, when legislators do what the voters don’t want done, new, more responsive legislators are elected by those voters.”

McCalla said it was important for Utah legislators to realize that the reasons they have been given by anti-tobacco groups to call for across the board tax increases on all tobacco products reflect the misguided conclusions of poorly informed special interest groups.

“First, the governor said ‘no new taxes of any kind’.  Increased tobacco taxes would bring a burden of higher costs and broken promises to nearly 10 percent of the Utah adult population that smokes, most of whom will simply buy their tobacco online or out of state to avoid paying these new taxes.

“Second, not all tobacco products are the same.  Premium cigars and pipes are different from, say, cigarettes in that they are discretionary products enjoyed only occasionally like a fine wine or single-malt scotch.  As a result, they should be taxed differently.”

McCalla suggested that the current 35 percent excise tax on tobacco products other than cigarettes could be replaced by a 50 cent tax cap per hand-made cigar. He said such a tax  is generating positive results in five other states, including Oregon, Washington, Rhode Island, Iowa and Wisconsin.

“Third, human behavior can’t be legislated.  Some lawmakers say increased tobacco taxes will prevent youths from smoking. That would be throwing the baby out with the bath water.  Our IPCPR retail members are adamantly diligent about selling their products only to age-appropriate adult customers.  For other retailers, there are plenty of laws on the books that, enforced properly, will accomplish that same objective. Besides, those neo-prohibitionists who make unsubstantiated claims of youth smoking are basing their estimates on overly vivid imaginations.”

McCalla urged Utah legislators to drop their consideration of “job-killing higher tobacco taxes that will actually result in lower tax revenues because people will find ways to avoid paying those new taxes.”


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