BOULDER, Colo. -- Prompted by action by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, officials with Smoker Friendly International said they will move its subsidiary, Payless Cigars & Pipes, from its Boulder headquarters to New Port Richey, Fla., near Tampa Bay.
The announcement, made in a letter from Mary Szarmach, senior vice president of governmental and external affairs for Smoker Friendly, said the governor vetoed Senate Bill 18-179, which would have extended a credit on cigars and other noncigarette tobacco products for distributorships that sold to out-of-state, adult consumers.
“Colorado allows this type of credit for every other commodity that has a state excise tax attached to it, including beer, alcohol and fuel,” Szarmach said in the letter dated Aug. 31. The original veto occurred on June 1.
“Is the Colorado economy ever good enough to send a good family business and its employees to another state? Gov. Hickenlooper has no answer to this question?” Szarmach wrote. “Colorado’s loss is Florida’s gain.”
In a letter to senators, Hickenlooper said he vetoed the bill because the number of companies benefitting from the tax credit appeared minimal and that “the negative health effects of cheaper tobacco are both significant and compelling.”
Smoker Friendly operates nearly 100 corporate-owned stores in five states. Another approximately 850 stores in 38 states are operated by licensed retailers. Smoker Friendly’s parent company, The Cigarette Store Corp., also operates the Gasamat chain of gas stations and convenience stores.