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According to a handful of sources representing the consumers of vapor and as residents of CT, have all informed us of a strange and unnecessary approach by the Democratic Governor’s Office. Apparently, the Connecticut State Governor, Mr. Malloy is technically not allowed to raise taxes at this juncture, so instead, one of the tactics his administration is using consists of threatening to defund the educational programs in districts that do not approve his budget proposal.

As always, the Vaping Post is quick to get all the most significant information out to the people as quickly as we can to help aid in influencing awareness of the vapor-sphere. Therefore, a very recent Vaping Post article was published about this situation currently unfolding in the state of CT.

The article illustrates how, “Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy released a budget including a proposed 75% wholesale tax on electronic cigarettes and vapor products. He is urging state lawmakers to act urgently and pass this budget proposal.”  If approved by the House and Senate, it is certain that the Democratic Governor’s Office will absolutely approve it.

What makes vaping advocates so shocked and appalled by this entire scenario, is pretty much five-fold. For instance, 75% wholesale is literally the highest tax hike ever proposed on vapor products. Sure Minnesota has a 95% tax, but that is calculated out to be pennies on the dollar since it taxes the nicotine only. Not to mention, it is a concentrated, the lobbyist for the State’s SFATA Chapter was not technically informed about this until this past Friday, with the vote on approving this proposal is being held less than 24 hours away.

This time table is important to reflect on due to the fact that Local Vape Advocates have been given less than a week to prepare for such a major chore – there is no plan for the scheduled testimonial hearings that most states facing similar circumstances are typically granted. There is no plan because there are no hearings being held, no

There are no times planned out to present the proper economic data to the Finance Committee Members. Democrats are typically the party that is making vape shops disappear all over states throughout America – it just so happens Connecticut has always been a Democratic stronghold with mass amounts of support. This is also being considered a Kamikaze air-raid style of political warfare declared on the working class as well as a flank attack, nothing more than an assumed victory in the war on small businesses. Lastly, with pulling the rug out from under any chance for local & state organization to advocate in honor of standing up for and protecting their livelihoods – a complete and utter display of disrespect for the democratic process.

Vape Industry Treated as a Social Experiment – Inconvenience for Small Businesses

Political economist and author Gar Alperovitz writes in his book titled America Beyond Capitalism some of the concepts discussed in a chapter titled, Total System Change: A Real-Life Look at Regional Governance and Public Ownership, feels all too familiar as it states,“worker-owned businesses operating in a challenging market environment can easily be overwhelmed by competitive forces that undermine larger social goals. Though to a degree regulations and after-the-fact efforts aimed at controlling the inherent dynamics of such models can modify and refine outcomes, they are unlikely to be able to alter the underlying conflicts of interest involved.”

This excerpt seemed very much appropriate given the circumstances involved with the war being waged on vapor. Not to mention, this constant uphill battle being fought with trying to explain the benefits of harm reduction, this war on vapor is part of a bigger conflict of the war on the middle class and the war on small business – it’s as if America has been preparing itself for creating a war zone of unknown motivations for an economic seizure, targeting a select proportion of residents to ensure a disproportionate wealth balance has a stronger chance of being an infinite certainty.  This has been slowly but surely occurring over the past few decades and the time has finally come to ensure all middle-working-class citizens become a permanent fixture of a larger under class, joining the highly regarded portion of the most impoverished American residents.

Seem farfetched? Yeah, I hope it does. One can only hope to the Pope that this is all far too conspiratorial to be factual. Then again, this democracy is a pure hypocrisy. Our social reality is far too contradicting, claiming to be a democracy when that would mean the government belongs to the people.  All we need to do is a simple search about how much U.S. income inequality and the American wealth gap have both been steadily increasing since the days of “Reaganomics” – a quick glance  into our nation’s history, some unusual patterns emerge and unless vapers unite together, especial on a local or state platform, they will slowly but surely take it all away. Let’s get back to the matter at hand since it is in direct correlation to such concepts.

Furthermore, it is absolutely necessary for everyone to understand just what type of government body we are dealing with not just Federally, but we must focus more attention locally, especially when it comes to having a state organization to advocate for saving your vapor industry. Believe it or not, they are coming for every state. Who’s next?

Apparently, the arrow was spun clockwise on the mainland map, landing in the direction of Connecticut, a state that is only bigger than Rhode Island & Delaware. The Connecticut Governor has been given the thumbs up from whoever is manipulating the puppet strings from the ivory tower.

Who gave the thumbs up? Trump? No way. Sessions? I doubt he knows what Vaping is. At this juncture it might be more accurate to assume Darth Vader is the mastermind behind the curtain. So, Big Pharma? Probably. Yet, they already have the ability to control our minds – so as mentioned, Darth Vador is by no means an out of the question, The state of Connecticut has been operating with no state budget since July. Huh? Yes, no budget and still operating as the largest organization that employs the most people in the state.

Local Vaping Industry Leadership Will Never Back Down in CT

It may not seem necessary to some, but I believe it to be extremely relevant to acknowledge the fact that it is two Strong Female Leaders taking on this tax hike proposal with contagious enthusiasm, unparalleled professionalism and impressionable personality.

It’s absolutely appropriate to highlight the fact that it is 2 businesswomen on the front lines leading the way for the local vapor community.  All but maybe 12 states approximately have a state-run organization representing the male-centric Vapor Industry. Of course there are countless influential leaders throughout the industry that are indeed Female, yet this industry has been routinely referred to as being very much a Male-Dominated advocacy community, consumer-base and business culture.

So, when these ladies are kicking ass and taking names, it seems necessary to remind the vape community and non-vapers alike, just how much progress is made with women in positions of power. They are relentless advocates who have been taking charge for years in their home-state and have been solid thus far in preserving this adult harm reduction industry.

Leadership is a Mindset & Continuous Journey

Christine Mazzotta, Connecticut SFATA Chapter President has a very “matter of fact” perspective and no b.s. approach. Christine “We all knew this would be a tough year– when last November the senate was split evenly.  Good luck accomplishing anything. Nobody can agree on a budget– that was supposed to be approved by July 1. Governor Malloy has just been acting on executive orders, unable to assess any new taxes in the interim– yet threatening huge educational cuts– which is such a tool to scare everyone.”

The Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association President in Connecticut, Mrs. Mazzotta is also the owner of 3 Vape Shop Locations known as Vapor 9 – she continues, by stating, “The 75% wholesale tax is simply part of his proposed budget.  It could be voted on as soon as Thursday. Yet when we crunch our (real) numbers of sales and employment taxation provided by our industry, it is well in excess of their proposed figures for the new tax. Nutshell, on paper: looks like “great money maker.” Reality: the state is shooting itself in the foot – as usual.”

All things considered, April Meyers, owner of Northeast Vapor Supplies in Old Saybrook and president of the board of directors of SFATA, said Connecticut’s proposed tax would be significantly higher than Pennsylvania’s. As many within the vape community are well-aware of the Pennsylvania scenario that has devastated small businesses and raised unemployment throughout the 5th largest state indefinitely from a 40% tax hike on vapor products.

April L. Meyers says she is not “technically” the co-President of the Connecticut Chapter of SFATA, but in crucial times like these, she feels compelled to lead the charge long with the SFATA President of the Connecticut Chapter, Christine Mazzotta – in which Mazzotta refers to April as “a Rockstar” due to relentless demeanor and disciplined work ethic. The Vaping Industry needs to recognize and value leaders such as these highly intelligent and strong-willed business women.

Oceanside, CA vape shop owner and advocate Fig Ramsey commented about how these two special ladies have been preserving the vape industry in Connecticut for years now. This is not the first threat these women have dealt with or had to reverse in order to save the industry, except this time, they have been blindsided.

Why would the Connecticut Governor’s Office propose this industry-killing tax? This is a complicated question because it could be several hypotheanswer I will explore in the next few articles we cover on this topic as Vaping Post will be updating our readers in as close to real time as possible. Whenever there is a tax proposal where jobs are literally being threatened, where owners of small business along with all hired staff alike will be forced to choose a while new career or out-of-state residents from their careers, their livelihoods.

April L. Meyers spent the entire weekend crunching numbers for the Market Research necessary to calculate in order to properly illustrate the reality of the situation. There are currently 90 vape shop businesses with an average of 2.4 locations, providing jobs for an estimated 800 employees in the state of Connecticut.

Passing a budget with a 75% wholesale tax on the vapor industry would immediately create a chaotic situation of vape shops being forced to close because they are small businesses. This would also create instant unemployment for the nearly 800 employees. 

You cannot tax Vapor the same way you would tax tobacco products like cigarettes because big tobacco is big business and Vaping is the consumer driven solution where the shops are small businesses owned by the working class – it’s not big business they can’t afford such ludicrous amounts of tax payments. But this is the bigger issue in more complicated situation perhaps the states don’t want to benefit financially from raising taxes perhaps with the really into do is destroy the entire industry at the order of a higher authority.

April Meyers says “Governor Malloy’s 75% wholesale tax proposal will devastate the small, family-owned local vapor businesses in Connecticut.  He should consider Pennsylvania’s recent loss of jobs and tax revenues, stemming from a tax that is roughly half of his own proposal, and pull back on this destructive policy immediately.”

April continues, by reminding us, “A tax of this magnitude gives an unfair advantage to out of state competitors and sends business outside our borders. This seems intuitively counterproductive to the best interests of Connecticut’s fiscal health. This tax will not raise revenue in the state – it will reduce it and eliminate jobs because small businesses that close and fire all of their employees don’t pay taxes at all.”

Both April and Christine were not informed of this proposed tax until just this past Friday since this provision is hidden deep within the budget. This has given them literally less than a week to counteract the potentially industry damaging and senseless tax.

After inquiring what they have been doing to prepare since they technically only have a week to prepare before the vote is held at the capital. April says, “In preparation for several interviews and articles for local papers and ultimately issued a press release earlier today to 12 different media outlets. We are making certain everyone understands how illogical this proposal truly is.”

Bright Side: Vapers in Connecticut Seem to Have a Key Ally of Invaluable Support

There may still be a silver lining. One might think from reading all this depressing information that it is hopeless. However, one high-ranking lawmaker expressed concerns about this proposal. House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz said the tax proposal is “problematic” because it would give an unfair edge to online retailers at the expense of brick-and-mortar vape shops.

“Given some of our commerce laws currently…the internet is a body unto itself,’’ Aresimowicz said. “If you make a product that is just not affordable locally or they can get it substantially cheaper on the internet, that’s what will happen.”

“We can’t find ourselves in another situation where we banked on revenues coming into the state of Connecticut that evaporated and finding ourselves in another deficit six, eight months from now,’’ says Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz (Democrat-Berlin, CT).

The first article Vaping Post featured on this issue, also states, “vaping advocates are bracing themselves, as this extremely harsh tax, that would be effective as of next January, could disseminate the vaping industry in the state. Additionally they fear that the price hikes and unavailability of the products will prompt smokers who had switched to the safer alternatives to revert back to smoking.”

There is a disturbing trend occurring when taking a close look at what is unraveling in Connecticut, right now and the other 499 state and municipal proposals and bills designed and determined on slowly and systematically extinguishing the heart and soul of the vape industry, our local independent vape shops and more likely than not, any other small business in the way of concentrated liquid wealth – unfortunately, we see this becoming part of a pattern within a much larger social issue throughout the entire nation. Nonetheless, it begins locally, so communities must come together, united and standing their ground, together. 

Let’s hope vaping receives a victory because this whole situation needs to be remedied. VOTE, NO VAPE TAX!

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