Government’s heavy hand can cause immense harm. Dori Odosso (pictured) and Chris Hughes know this all too well. Both small business owners are concerned about a crushing new tax that threatens to virtually wipe out their entire industry.
Their concerns are shared by many.
Over the past couple of weeks, various news outlets have featured vape shop owners who are bracing for a 40 percent excise tax on their businesses. Owners are worried about the tax’s impact on their lives and the lives of the people they serve.
Here are some of the upsetting responses from shop owners affected by the tax:
Pocono Record quoting George Predmore:
“I’m 51 and my wife is 52, if we lose the vape shop it would mean that I would have to try and find work. It could destroy my business and I would have to sell my home. It would destroy my life.”
York Dispatch quoting Michael Curry:
“We're completely outraged,” Curry said. “This is pretty much a catastrophe for us.”
CBS 21 News quoting Dave Norris:
“The likelihood is that probably all three of my businesses will end up closing.”
WTAJ-TV quoting Holly Loupe:
“It will result in shops closing, that means more unemployment, that means their families aren't going to have a source of income…”
The Lancaster Online quoted a few owners including Kerry Medina, who doesn’t think her business can survive the tax:
“This is my life,” she said. “I took my life savings to do this.”
This is not an academic debate about the effects of marginal tax rates on productivity. This 40 percent tax will have real consequences for working people if lawmakers leave it in place.
The General Assembly is not scheduled to come back until the end of September. That will be too late for many shop owners who have promised to shut their doors before then. If lawmakers want to save the people who work and depend on the vape industry, the tax must be repealed sooner.
Lawmakers have options for offsetting revenue losses, should they repeal the tax. They could reduce corporate welfare spending or even replace the tax with an alternative that is not as damaging.
The tax is estimated to raise $13 million, which is only 2 percent of the entire tax package passed in July. In other words, it is not an essential element of balancing the budget. But its repeal is essential to protecting people from the devastation of a poorly-designed tax.