This past Friday Congress passed the Transportation Bill; including an amendment which could force roll your own cigarette and tobacco businesses nation wide to close their doors.
Let’s Roll Tobacco, a Waukesha roll your own tobacco business is one such area business that was forced to shut down its “spinning” machines as of midnight Sunday.Congress passed the amendment after the United States Government Accountability Office recently estimated that changes in the market for roll-your-own cigarettes had reduced federal tax revenue by as much as $492 million between April 2009 and September 2011. It also followed heavy lobbying by major cigarette companies whose sales were clearly affected by these numbers.
If signed into law, the bill would require roll your own cigarette businesses to pay the same taxes as major cigarette and tobacco companies. Many critics of roll your own shops are saying the shops have taken advantage of changes in tobacco taxes that were enacted in 2009. Those changes implemented a rise in the federal excise tax on a carton of cigarettes, which rose to $10.07 from $3.90, and the tax on a pound of roll-your-own tobacco increased to $24.78 from $1.10.
Roll your own businesses like Let’s Roll Tobacco in Waukesha currently allow customers to purchase tobacco and use machines to create their own cigarettes, sometimes costing less than half the price of what it costs to purchase a pack of cigarettes from large cigarette manufacturers.
The small tobacco shops say they shouldn’t be treated the same as major cigarette manufacturers, whose machines can roll cigarettes roughly 1,000 times faster. They also note their shops are zoned for retail use, not manufacturing.
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