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CRA Update from the States and Washington, D.C.
CRA thanks all of the Florida membership for the calls and emails made to legislators, reinforcing the work of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association, Cigar Association of America, and even non-cigar groups, such as the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association that questioned Florida having a ‘patchwork’ of local ordinances with which to contend. This issue in Florida, will not go away. Let’s keep the pressure against such legislation on, throughout the year.
Massachusetts Tax Increase – A New Battle in Boston
We were still celebrating the news that Boston Mayor Tom Menino was not running for reelection, when word started to flow about a new tax increase proposal in the state house.
Governor Deval Patrick is proposing an increase in cigar taxes by as much as 10%, as a part of a $1.9 billion package for roads and education. The thirst for your tax dollars is unquenchable. The additional disturbing part of this equation is that the leadership of the legislature is supporting Governor Patrick. House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray are introducing the measure.
Contact your members of the Massachusetts legislature, TODAY! Say “No More Taxes on My Cigars!”
On a more positive note, CRA is very pleased that Boston Mayor Tom Menino has announced that he is not seeking reelection. Mayor Menino spearheaded the effort with the Board of Health to ban outdoor smoking on restaurant patios, along with a ‘sunset’ on the very existence of Boston’s great cigar bars. That issue needs to be revisited with a new administration.
H.R. 792 Advances in the U.S. House of Representatives
With each passing week since being filed on February 15, H.R. 792 gains strength in Congress, sending a clear message to the FDA: This government has higher priorities than regulating cigars!
Now, 41 members of the U.S. House of Representatives from nineteen states and both sides of the political aisle have come together as co-sponsors, joining the bi-partisan support of Rep. Bill Posey, R-Florida, and Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Florida.
And on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue…
There are rumblings that the Obama Administration may be proposing a fresh new round of tax increases, and this time on your cigars! Now, the President may want new cigar taxes to go for education programs. SCHIP just wasn’t enough. Fortunately, that’s why there are three branches of government, and such a proposal should meet with strong resistance in the House of Representatives, and hopefully the Senate, as well.
Members of Congress from Florida, Tennessee, Iowa, Colorado, Oklahoma, California, Missouri, Virginia, Nevada, North Carolina, Minnesota, West Virginia, Kentucky, Texas, Michigan, Wisconsin, Kansas, Arkansas and New York have already signed on the line, telling the FDA to stay out of your home and shop humidor.