Published on February 14th, 2017 | by Jimmy Hafrey
Special Needs Employees Hit Hard From Vape Tax
Tony Myers had a dream to build a business that could employee people with special needs, a dream that came to fruition last year. Now it seems like that dream may be in jeopardy.
The Evening Sun is reporting that About It All Vapors, the business Myers runs in Hanover, is just one of the many vape shops that are experiencing difficulty due to the Pennsylvania 40% wholesale tax on vape products. The tax rate, which was enacted in December, has put a tremendous burden on small businesses like About It All, leading to lower hiring numbers and a loss of profit.
For Myers, it’s personal. The Daily Caller is reporting that Myers, who made the news last year with his volunteer partnership with Focus Behavioral Health to give opportunities to people with special disabilities, has had to cut his program off. He’s also had to cut down on the hours given to his first intellectually disabled employee, Ryan Garrett.
All About It began as a custom apparel company in 2014 but has since grown to incorporate a vape side to the business. It is the vape shop that bankrolls the efforts made by Myers to provide work experience to people with special needs. This program both trains and hires adults with special needs, something that the Hanover residents are extremely proud of.
The 40 percent tax that Pennsylvania made law last year is responsible for the roughly one-third of all vape shop closures within the state. The tax in Pennsylvania, unlike tax proposals in other states, is retroactive, which has left many vape businesses unable to pay the immense bills.
“It’s pretty brutal,” Mike Curry, the owner of LifeSmoke Vapors, told The Evening Sun in an interview given last week. “I don’t think anybody’s gonna survive. It’s just a matter of how long.”
Myers’ shops are still open, but it has come at the price of having to suspend the volunteer program and cutting down on the hours provided to his current employees.
“It costs money and materials, and even if somebody’s coming in and they’re not on the payroll yet, it still costs money to run that program,” Myers told The Evening Sun. “Ryan’s still with us, and he’s so special to me. Recently I had to call him and say, ‘Hey man, sorry, we don’t have any work.’”
There may be good news on the horizon for both adults with special needs and vapers, however; the Pennsylvania Vape Association is proposing a bill that reduces the 40 percent tax on all vape products to a five cent tax per milliliter on vape liquid. The bill has already been introduced to the assembly by State Sen. Camera Bartolotta and Rep. Jeff Wheeland and awaits both legislative support and a movement for it to be voted on by state legislators.
Should the bill pass, Myers would be able to reinstate his volunteer program, one that The Evening Sun believes is a great addition to the Hanover community. This publication will keep you updated should this story change.