NJ e-cig industry pushing back on Christie tax increase plan

posted at 11:01 am on June 15, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

This story began picking up steam (pun intended) in New Jersey last month, when Chris Christie and a coalition of lawmakers began pondering plans to jack up taxes on the new electronic cigarettes in the same fashion that they tax conventional tobacco products. It struck me as unusual that a Republican considering a presidential bid would be on the record in support of raising any taxes, but I suppose politics really do make for strange bedfellows. Now that the various players involved have had time to consider their options, small business owners looking to move into this market have banded together to strike back.

The growing e-cigarette industry is waging a battle against New Jersey’s hefty proposed tax on the devices, worrying that such a levy could set a precedent as states start to grapple with the new products.

Gov. Chris Christie and some New Jersey legislators say they want to place a 75% wholesale tax on e-cigarettes and some related gear, mirroring what New Jersey charges on traditional smokes, currently $2.70 for a pack of 20.

No special tax is currently imposed on e-cigarettes, battery-operated devices that heat liquid nicotine and create smokeless vapor.

Nearly 50 independent e-cigarette retailers have banded together to fight the proposed tax. The group, the New Jersey Vapor Retailers Coalition, has hired one of the state’s largest lobbying firms, MWW, to convince lawmakers that the levy would not only cripple their fledgling businesses, but would hurt other small operators who sell the devices, including gas stations and convenience stores.

The governor is also making a tired old claim about how this tax could generate as much as $35M in new revenue. But we’ve seen this story play out before and it doesn’t tend to work that way, with the Garden State’s neighbor Maryland serving as an example. But no matter the rationale being employed, it’s interesting to see these business owners learning the lessons of the past and trying to get ahead of the game.

We have a history of giving a brief edge to small, emerging businesses in order to allow them some space to grow and spur job creation. And in this particular instance, there isn’t much of a case to be made for lumping this type of financial lashing in with sin taxes. Even if you’re in favor of massive taxes on tobacco – ostensibly to discourage tobacco use – how would you justify a massive tax on a product being employed as a pathway to get people to stop smoking?

The mind doth boggle.


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When my father-in-law comes to visit us from overseas, my wife makes him smoke e-cigarettes instead of regular ones. I don’t really know if they are overall more healthy. Maybe there are some additional costs we should be aware of. However, he stops coughing pretty much on the second day, and there’s no smell inside the house.

This war on e-cigarettes is another example why I, being very socially liberal, do not support Democrats. Their claims “let people do what they want with their body” are lies. They’ll tax into non-existence everything they don’t like.

PBH on June 15, 2014 at 11:06 AM

Christie is in the Bloomberg camp in thinking that it’s the government’s job to be the big nanny.

anotherJoe on June 15, 2014 at 11:10 AM

Can’t let people get their nicotine fix for less than what the government charges for it through cigarettes.

wifarmboy on June 15, 2014 at 11:17 AM

Have they taxed candy cigarettes yet? Or are they outright banned under child abuse statutes?

Annar on June 15, 2014 at 11:25 AM

Same issue as with high-mileage cars. First they make us use less fuel, then they raise the taxes as less fuel consumptions means less taxes for the state.

Mu on June 15, 2014 at 11:28 AM

The governor is also making a tired old claim about how this tax could generate as much as $35M in new revenue. But we’ve seen this story play out before and it doesn’t tend to work that way, with the Garden State’s neighbor Maryland serving as an example. But no matter the rationale being employed, it’s interesting to see these business owners learning the lessons of the past and trying to get ahead of the game.

did Maryland get less tax revenue than expected? The link doesn’t say anything about that.

themuppet on June 15, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Why would the government tax this? Simple e-cigs contain nictotine and thus are addictive. The Gov knows that by taxing them they will have a steady tax revenue stream. that is why you see taxes on “sin” goods. People aren’t going to stop getting their fix on acholol or nicotine and so the government puts a tax on them to ensure themselves of a steady expanding stream of money coming in to fund their pet projects.

As far as e-cigs. they are healthier then reg cigs but nictonie still has some health issues. the biggest being its a vasoconstrictor and prolonged use will cause circulation problems including high blood pressure, heart issues, possible stroke and in males ED to name a few.

But for those addicted to the drug e-cigs are much much better for you then cigs.

this whole push to tax e-cigs just goes to show for the gov the push to “ban” smokes was never about health and always about gettign a new tax stream up and running.

unseen on June 15, 2014 at 11:33 AM

We pay too much in taxes.
Now NJ wants to assess a 75% wholesale tax on these vaping machines?
75%??

C’mon, man!!

majorzot on June 15, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Have they taxed candy cigarettes yet? Or are they outright banned under child abuse statutes?

Annar on June 15, 2014 at 11:25 AM

they were banned

unseen on June 15, 2014 at 11:34 AM

just one more reason why i will never ever vote for fatso.

unseen on June 15, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Chris Christie and a coalition of lawmakers began pondering plans to jack up taxes

…yep!…I sure want the fatass from Joyzee…to be my next presidunce!

KOOLAID2 on June 15, 2014 at 11:40 AM

Even if you’re in favor of massive taxes on tobacco – ostensibly to discourage tobacco use – how would you justify a massive tax on a product being employed as a pathway to get people to stop smoking?

Politicians don’t have to justify anything anymore; they just have to be able to spew words with a straight face. See? He’s wearing a suit and is taller than average, he must be right!

Fenris on June 15, 2014 at 11:47 AM

I’m just posting to make it an even dozen comments.

wolly4321 on June 15, 2014 at 11:49 AM

I guess Noah doesn’t work weekends, either.

I’m outta here. Go for a motorcycle ride, before it gets hot.

wolly4321 on June 15, 2014 at 11:53 AM

unseen on June 15, 2014 at 11:33 AM

many use nicotine free juice.

dmacleo on June 15, 2014 at 12:03 PM

many use nicotine free juice.

dmacleo on June 15, 2014 at 12:03 PM

true many people just like the “feeling” of inhaling and after giving up nicotine and smoking still like to take a puff to relax themselves. which makes this tax even more crazy.

unseen on June 15, 2014 at 12:15 PM

I’ve seen cats cough up furballs. It’s pretty disgusting.

I’m glad I don’t own a cat.

wolly4321 on June 15, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Have they taxed candy cigarettes yet? Or are they outright banned under child abuse statutes?

Annar on June 15, 2014 at 11:25 AM

Here you go.

RickB on June 15, 2014 at 1:12 PM

He’s wearing a suit and is taller fatter and dumber than average, he must be right!

Fenris on June 15, 2014 at 11:47 AM

FIFY!

ZeusGoose on June 15, 2014 at 1:18 PM

Have they taxed candy cigarettes yet? Or are they outright banned under child abuse statutes?

Annar on June 15, 2014 at 11:25 AM
they were banned

unseen on June 15, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Thank God for teh interwebz!

Dolce Far Niente on June 15, 2014 at 1:23 PM

E-cigs contribute to global warming.
The science is settled.

Galtian on June 15, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Well, with the FDA in the process of killing e-cigs (really, handing them over to the big Tobacco companies), it may not matter what happens in NJ, in the end.

AUINSC on June 15, 2014 at 1:46 PM

E-cigs Mouth-breathing liberals contribute to global warming.
The science is settled.

Galtian on June 15, 2014 at 1:41 PM


fify

Hammie on June 15, 2014 at 2:00 PM

NJ e-cig industry pushing back on Christie tax increase plan

These politicians in both parties are desperate to find more sources of revenue.

I just keep wondering how long it will be before they start taking a % directly out of our bank accounts like they did in Cyprus?

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 15, 2014 at 3:21 PM

Chris Christie is the Big Government, literally.

Rix on June 15, 2014 at 3:53 PM

Personally, I’d like to see the darned things taxed out of existence. As a junior high principal in Texas, these are our worst nightmare. Odorless and virtually impossible to detect, students are putting concentrated liquid marijuana, synthetic and everything else under the kitchen sink in the vapes to get high. We are considering them drug paraphernalia. Truly, they are the most frightening things I’ve seen in schools in a very long time. So before everyone goes off on their libertarian high horses, please consider what I said.
And I’m one of the most conservative people you’ll meet, FYI.

pullingmyhairout on June 15, 2014 at 8:52 PM

Chris Christie is 700lbs of chewed bubblegum stuffed into a garbage bag.

V7_Sport on June 15, 2014 at 11:34 PM

Very bad optics for a so-called conservative pretender to be taxing anything, especially for the paltry sum this will bring in.

The only good thing Christie has done is argue with a few union boneheads on video. Beyond this, he is a non-performer.

virgo on June 16, 2014 at 12:58 AM

pullingmyhairout on June 15, 2014 at 8:52 PM

You are entirely justified in banning the things from your junior high school, because minors aren’t allowed to do a great many things that adults are.

But that’s not good enough for you. You want them “taxed out of existence”. You don’t want adults to be able to use them. You may indeed be “one of the most conservative people” I’ll meet, but you’re no friend of liberty if you want the government to use its coercive power to restrain adults from engaging in behavior that does not harm any one other than themselves.

The government does not exist to do your job for you.

The Monster on June 16, 2014 at 10:44 AM

I hate those things, but that is my choice…heavy tax to discourage use, really, how dumb…proven not to work…

Also, I just cant wait until the pneumonia epidemic…

BigFrank on June 16, 2014 at 11:17 AM

NJ going down the tubes and this RINO looks for things to tax.
All that campaign BS about reducing spending, reducing taxes & eliminating waste just more “Cantor” RINO.

Jpalm32 on June 16, 2014 at 1:40 PM

The Monster on June 16, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Point taken.

Perhaps I was a little strong in my statement. I have the tendency to get that way when it comes to protecting my students.

That doesn’t negate the fact that these things WILL cause a new wave of undetectable drug use in our schools, and that I believe some regulation is in order. You don’t have to be 18 to purchase the device as far as I know. (Or at least what actual students have told me…)

pullingmyhairout on June 16, 2014 at 2:49 PM