Tax hearing wrap-up
Just a quick summary on the legislative hearing from this week. We had representation from myself and your board president Tad Jensen. Also attending the meeting from the statewide industry was EB Vapors, Vapor Logic and Peak Vapor. We have always been an association dedicated to representing this industry and it’s consumers in the best possible manner and we were proud to once again be at the forefront of the issue to meet with the committee members and discuss the perils of taxation. Our lobbyists also were working hard behind the scenes to speak with the chair and various members ahead of time and it was obvious throughout the hearing that our message was heard.
The committee was first presented with a “state of business” as it relates to taxation of tobacco products and a brief summary of the laws that passed during the recent session. The Utah Tax commission then spoke about the complexities associated with taxing the industry; which as we all know, even if it happens will not be a simple task like it is with tobacco.
Members of the committee approached the issue with an open mind and asked all the right questions. It was asked several times by more than one committee member why we would want to tax a product that is quite obviously reducing the harm for smokers; even referred to the zero nicotine products as “mormon cigarettes” (LOL). Besides those from the industry mentioned above, there were 2 medical professionals that testified but in my humble opinion, were lackluster in their content.
Overall, the committee was very open and seemed to be supportive of what we are doing as an industry to help the smokers and their loved ones throughout the state. Several from the committee even expressed a desire to visit a few shops and experience the products. No decisions were made at the hearing so this topic will continue to be discussed at future hearings.
In closing I want to thank Stonne from EB, Josh from Vapor Logic, Austin from Peak Vapor and Tad from ElectronicStix/UTSFA for their support of the industry. Everyone represented our views very well and handled themselves with a high level of decorum.
You can read a bit more on the write up the Deseret News did on the hearing here: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865630930/Lawmakers-resume-deliberations-of-possible-e-cigarette-tax.html?pg=all
And the Utah Political News write up here: http://utahpoliticalcapitol.com/2015/06/22/e-cigarettes-to-tax-or-not-to-tax-lawmakers-take-a-look/#by