Convenience stores

Nevada Convenience Stores Grateful for Tax Cut

Higher tax rates on electronic cigarettes would increase traditional cigarette use and reduce the use of the less harmful electronic cigarette.

Without a doubt, lawmakers were hoping to reduce Americans’ tobacco and nicotine use when they proposed the vaping tax, but Republicans and a handful of Senate Democrats, including Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, took the time. discuss with voters and study the unintended consequences of the proposal. urged to remove it from the Senate version of the bill.

They recognized that not only would a high tax on e-cigarettes return users to traditional combustible cigarettes, it would disproportionately affect low- and middle-income Americans, as nearly 70% of e-cigarette consumers earn less. $ 75,000 per year. Creating a regressive tax that would have increased the tax burden on low-income Nevadans would have directly thwarted President Biden’s promise not to raise taxes for those earning less than $ 400,000.

Low-income Nevada residents would not have been the only ones affected by the sky-high tax increase, either. High taxes, which raise retail prices, are already causing a massive illicit sales market, so an increase in taxes would further strain law enforcement. Skeptical? Just look at what the Virginia State Crime Commission has said about the cigarette smuggling schemes: whatever methods are employed, these schemes are in part motivated by tax evasion.

Illicitly trafficked cigarettes may have a higher profit margin than cocaine, heroin, marijuana, or firearms. The National Sheriffs Association states that “the law enforcement community … lacks the basic resources to adequately deal with [smuggling]. Overall, neither the convenience industry nor the state can afford to lose more revenue to the illicit market; Nevada’s annual tax levies are already hampered by more than $ 18 million due to illegal trade.

As the State Executive of the Nevada Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores Association, I am grateful to Senator Cortez Masto for her concern for our convenience retailers and workers who would also be negatively affected by the high tobacco taxes. or vaping. I encourage her and her Senate colleagues to stay the course in their opposition to these heavy taxes.

There are over 2,630 retailers in Nevada employing tens of thousands of Nevadans, and 90 percent of all tobacco product sales are made through these small businesses, convenience stores, and gas stations. These retailers were seen as essential during the pandemic, and many of them are still struggling to stay afloat as the economy begins to recover. A tax increase would hurt these small businesses even more.

The federal government has repeatedly recognized that vapor products can offer smokers a less risky alternative to traditional cigarettes. Instead of making it more expensive to switch to less harmful vapor products and making it cheaper to buy these products on the black market, leaders should do their research, listen to their constituents, and find ways to fund the campaign. the president’s agenda without harming low-income e-cigarette consumers, struggling small business owners and hard-working Americans.

Peter Krueger is the state executive for the Nevada Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association.