AFP Opposes Washington State E-Cigarette Tax

February 25, 2014

Dear Washington State Senators:

On behalf of more than two million Americans for Prosperity activists in all 50 states, I write in strong opposition to SB 6559 and similar efforts to raise taxes on electronic cigarettes. This legislation, SB 6559, would increase taxes by $40 million, and impose a ban on all internet sales of tobacco. We believe this legislation is bad policy, and we hope you will reject it.

SB 6559 is an attempt by lawmakers to raise more revenue at the expense of one group of taxpayers that has been singled out for disparate treatment. With tax revenue on traditional cigarettes decreasing, lawmakers are turning their focus to alternative products like e-cigarettes in an effort to cover shortfalls, and underwrite unsustainable spending increases.

Rather than looking at ways to reduce spending, many state governments have instead become increasingly creative in finding new items, groups and activities to tax. The target du jour is e-cigarettes. This misguided proposal amounts to a 95 percent tax increase, one that will put local businesses in Washington State at a competitive disadvantage with many of their competitors. This legislation also represents yet another attempt by government to micromanage the behavior of individual citizens through the tax code. By taxing and banning the sale of e-cigarettes, the government is punishing those who choose to use e-cigarettes over other products. Paternalistic policies such as those embodied by SB 6559 send the wrong message that government knows best.

We hope you will oppose passage of this misguided measure, and urge you to oppose including any similar tax hike in an upcoming budget resolution.

Sincerely,

Mac Zimmerman
Director of Policy
Americans for Prosperity

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