Saturday, August 25, 2007

NJ Freedom Fighting

I just sent out the following letter to Governor Corzine here in New Jersey. Thanks to the diligent efforts of Ruth and Burton Weiss of Greentree Tobacco Company, the Governor's office has become interested in how the SCHIP legislation will ruin their tax base. As most 'normal' people (non-legislators) understand, the demand for premium pipe tobaccos and cigars is elastic, and the absurd taxation proposals included in SCHIP will decimate our profession and industry.

Dear Governor Corzine:

I am writing this letter in response to the current State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) legislation which includes astronomical tax increases which will devastate the retail Tobacconist profession in New Jersey and throughout our country. Consequently, hundreds of thousands of jobs are also at stake in Central America and the Caribbean.

As the founder and president of A Little Taste of Cuba in Princeton, New Jersey, I can tell you that any significant tax increase will put us out of business. While we pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in taxes, we also employ eight individuals and provide health insurance for half of them. As Certified Tobacconists we are experts in luxury organoleptic products which are used in moderation by people savoring their time. Premium and luxury cigars and pipe tobaccos are delicacies which take years to produce and are touched by artisans’ hands several hundred times before they ever reach the consumer. As Tobacconists, we are honorable professionals who take pride in enhancing the quality of our customers’ lives and carrying on traditions that enrich our culture.

Please do not support SCHIP in its current form, as it will unduly punish and obliterate an entire industry and tax base. Please insist on alternative and more stable forms of revenue which will not result in adverse consequences and a decrease in tax revenues for the state.

Our entire industry is fighting this brutal tax on every level. Not a day goes by that I am not on the phone, writing letters and/or emails to combat this oppressive mistake. We are fighting in Central America and the Caribbean through diplomats, embassies, and the State Department. We are fighting through our local, state, and federal legislators as well. We have hired lobbyists, attorneys, and experts to help us all. But the biggest impact will be made by consumers who write letters, faxes, email and contact their representatives in government. Please get up off your rump and fight for your rights! Or there won't be a 'next time'.

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