In a move which could save as many as 1,500 jobs, full-time jobs at that, Pennsylvania’s House Finance Committee voted in favor (19-4) of repealing a hefty retroactively imposed tax that was so high, it was almost sure to cost jobs.
Fox43 reported the vote to have been 19-4 while ABC27 contradicted these figures as they reported that the vote was 18-4.
The tax that they repealed, assuming the new legislation gets signed off on by Governor Tom Wolf, was a 40% retroactive tax on the inventory of all vape shops across the state, effectively levying a massive tax on the inventories of Pennsylvania vape stores to be burdened by their owners. However, the House Finance Committee passed legislation HB 2342, effectively replacing the 40% tax with an alternative tax in which the state’s vape shops are taxed just $0.05 per milliliter of e-Liquid.
Senior policy analyst Bob Dick with the Commonwealth Foundation was quoted by Fox43 as having said that the 40% tax that HB 2342 replaced “unfairly targeted one industry (vapor) to the point of near extinction.”
“This tax unfairly targeted one industry to the point of near extinction. We’ve already seen approximately 50 vape shops close their doors because of this tax, and more will follow unless it is repealed.”
He added that he believes it to be “unconscionable” for Harrisburg to jeopardize local businesses and the jobs they provide to their communities for the sake of $13 million in revenue created by the tax when companies worth billions such as Netflix and Amazon (he noted the two specifically) are receiving millions in subsidies from the state.
The new legislation that the House voted in favor of was authored by Republican Representative Jeff C. Wheeland of Lycoming who said in a statement that his legislation “would still generate tax revenue” but not that the expense of jobs and businesses, ABC27 reported.
“My legislation is modeled after laws implemented in Louisiana and North Carolina. It would still generate tax revenue but not cause these small businesses to close, resulting in a loss of jobs.”
What do you think of the 40% vape store tax? A bit hefty? And what of Wheeland’s bill that aims to replace the tax with something a bit more reasonable – good idea or bad idea? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.