“The tax increases being proposed in HB 5727 are so unconscionable to say the least as to be practically punitive for small local manufacturers such as ourselves. We are left to wonder: What have we done to deserve this kind of treatment?” said Blake Dy, vice president of the local cigarette manufacturer Associated Anglo-American Tobacco (AAAT), the largest producer of low-priced cigarette brands in the country.
According to Dy, their company has been in the Philippines for nearly 70 years, employing Filipino workers, using locally grown tobacco and staying on despite the tumultuous political climate, rampant criminality, and rising costs in labor, fuel and power.
“Since my father assumed control, our family has poured four decades of our blood and sweat into our company only to have it casually wiped away by a piece of legislation. We thought the Philippines was for the Filipinos,” Dy said.
He said it is ironic that the proposed law’s touted aim was to generate more revenues for the government and to level the playing field that would allow entry of foreign firms.
“But why is it that we, the small player, the Filipino-owned and -operated company, are going to be the ones hurt the most? Under this bill, the foreign firms would only be levied a miniscule tax increase, if any at all. Small firms like us that cater to the value cigarette market are being threatened with a 500-percent to 1,000-percent tax increase over the next two to three years. How is this in any way fair or just when the tax alone is twice the current selling price of our products?” he said.
Again and again in these stories it always pops up.
The unintended or perhaps intended consequences are driving people out of work.
With the economy such as it is punitive taxation makes little sense.
One Tobacco House employee said on Friday, "I don't know what I'm going to do if this place closes and I don't even know for sure if it will."
There is a chance Tobacco House will continue to operate in some way at their Cortez Boulevard store, at least for the year-long balance of their current lease.
However, the loss of jobs from the new Republican-sponsored legislation travels further than Florida.
Rolling machine maker, Phil Accordino and his employees also face problems with the new law. He told the Washington Post, “demand for his machines would dry up and he’d be forced out of business. Gone would be his new factory, which employs 35 workers in a corner of Ohio hit hard by steel mill closures.”
Sometimes big tobacco has their hands firmly embedded in the pocket of the politicians.
The issues are bigger than I am,bigger than any of us.
I do know this tobacco is a cash crop and people who use it pay for everything.
People who work in pubs,bars and entertainment are losing their jobs,the places they own ,their homes and years of time and hard work that they have invested in it.
In fact I have often wondered why no one will allow this it might not be a perfect solution but it would be something,maybe something to build on.