GACS's Tudor Pens Editorial Opposing Federal Tobacco Tax Hike
94-cent excise tax increase on cigarettes would harm convenience stores
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Jim Tudor, president of the Georgia Association of Convenience Stores (GACS), wrote the following opinion piece (excerpted here) for The Augusta Chronicle:
As a member of [GACS], I am keenly aware of the struggles that have faced businesses in our state since the onset of the recession. … We have learned that President Obama has proposed a 94-cent increase in the federal excise tax levied on cigarettes [that would fund] a state-federal program that would expand access to early education.
We are highly supportive of state and federal measures that seek to improve education, but they should not be implemented at the expense of jobs and economic activity. Choosing to fund the program with a tobacco tax increase could have negative implications for GACS members and conveniences stores across the nation. … Any increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco products could cause a corresponding increase in black-market activity where tobacco products are cheaper because the appropriate taxes are lower or not collected at all.
This is problematic because our members could lose the revenue they would have collected from not only from the sales of tobacco products, but also from the sales of the non-tobacco items--such as gas, coffee or food items--that usually accompany these purchases. Cigarette tax increases could benefit illegal and counterfeit cigarette sellers while harming law-abiding retailers. … Our leaders in Washington, D.C., should be careful to consider the consequences their decisions could have on small businesses and job creation.