I am going to rant about the new cigar tax that goes into effect on Wednesday.
I’m not a cigar smoker. Have I tried them? Yes. Regularly? Not at all. I think I am up in arms because it will destroy small businesses. Tampa, FL will take a huge hit in terms of business. 2/3 of all cigars made in the US or imported into the US come through Tampa. The tax is increasing from 5 cents to 40 cents per cigar. That is a huge increase. 300% in fact unless my math is wrong, which is a distinct possibility.
Tampa has been the cigar capital of the US for over a century. Now this tax is threatening to damage yet another aspect of the economy. Put more people out of work. In my opinion, you have to look at the big picture. The tax increases. People stop buying cigars. Cigar makers close up shop and lay people off. Those laid off people can't find work. Local tax revenues shrink because fewer people are paying taxes because they aren't working. With less tax revenues coming in, city and county services are cut. More people lose their jobs. Blah, blah, blah. That isn't even taking into consideration the suppliers that these cigar makers do business with.
Now it could be said that this could apply to any business and that is true but my point isn’t specific to cigars. Whether it is cigars, or tires, or baby bottles makes no difference. Taxing a business out of existence is not fixing things. It is only causing more pain. Obama and his crew insist that they are trying to save and/or create jobs!! Strange way to save jobs I say. Tax them out of existence? Now, if someone in the Obama administration, including the big man himself, would just step up and say "You know, in order to fix this thing the right way, we are going to have to destroy some peoples’ livelihoods." I wouldn't be near as worked up about it because that would at least be the truth. Don't sit there though and tell me you are doing every thing you can to save or create jobs and then levy 300% tax increases against specific sectors of the economy.
I’m sure some of you who read this are wondering if there is more to this than I am letting on and there is. Evidently, this tax increase will be used to fund an increase in children's health care. I personally believe that if there is a single demographic that deserves an increase in health care coverage, it is children. I DO NOT however, believe that this is the way to go about doing it. I see where the government is coming from on this one. “Tax the shit out of cigar makers to pay for child health care. The American public will eat that up!!” I don’t buy it though. How about cutting pork barrel spending? How about taxing imported cigars only rather than imported and locally made? How about getting a handle on the billions of tax payer dollars that have been dropped down the black holes that are AIG, GM, Chrysler, etc? This is a punitive tax and nothing more. It is yet another example of a government that is so in over its head that it will do anything to appear like it is doing something.
I know I don't have the answers. I know there are thousands of people who are way smarter than me that are trying to fix this problem. But from my perspective, something’s just don't seem right and let's face it, perception is reality.