Massive Tax Hike Threatens Vaping in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania vapers will be met with a massive tax in October, and small businesses are closing because of it.
Penn Live is reporting this week that the state of Pennsylvania has recently approved a 40 percent increase for vape products. This will include existing products as well as new products that might be introduced into the market after October 1, 2016.
This tax, which was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf, is meant to help the state fill an estimated $1.4 billion hole in the state’s new budget. This budget, which is reported to stand at $31.5 billion for the new year, also sees cigarettes get a steep tax as well. However, the biggest tax hike will be for vapers, and in specifics, vape shop owners, who will take the brunt of the tax increase in the first few months.
This new tax hike is prompting small businesses like Fat Cat Vapor to close prior to the implementation of tax law. Chris Hughes, who owns this vape shop, spoke with Penn Live about his disappointment in the new law.
“It’s almost as if the tax was designed to kill small business,” he said when discussing the law. Hughes has begun a sale across his store, including his furnishings and art. He’s hoping to liquidate the entire stock and shutter the business before October to avoid having to pay the “floor tax” that the state put into place.
The “floor tax” term refers to the fact that any inventory left on Pennsylvania’s vape shops will also be taxed. That means that vape shop owners must pay the 40 percent tax on inventory they haven’t even paid yet. This is an undue burden on these business owners and it is widely thought that this will contribute to even more shop closings in the future.
“I had a lot of jobs I was O.K. at in my life,” Hughes said about his vape shop and the impending closure, “but this was the only thing I found in my 51 years that I really loved and was good at.”
More vape shop owners are weighing their options when it comes to the new vape tax law. While Fat Cat Vapor is the first to announce its closure, many in the vape industry believe it won’t be the only shop to close in the state.
For vapers in the state, this comes as a hard blow. A 40 percent increase in vape supplies is a steep increase in price, nearly marking this life-saving smoking alternative out of affordability for most people who need it. And for smokers who are trying their hardest to quit smoking, this is an undeniable hindrance to their health
If you live in Pennsylvania and want to let Governor Wolf know how you feel about this outrageous vape tax hike, you can contact him using this form here.