A vape shop that serves as an employer of disabled individuals is being forced to cut hours and delay new staff hires due to a 40 percent tax on e-cigarettes in Pennsylvania.
Close to one-hundred e-cigarette shops have closed since the tax took effect Oct. 1. The tax applies retroactively to all vape businesses in the state, which is proving fatal for many. Tony Myers, owner of About It All Vapors, focuses part of his business on training and hiring adults with special needs. Myers’ shops are still afloat, but the tax has forced Myers to scrap plans to hire an additional six workers and cut the hours of his current employee, Ryan Garrett, reports The Evening Sun.
Myers would previously run a volunteer training program for the disabled, with the volunteers later eligible for hire at his business. He recently had to inform a group of six volunteers he could not afford hiring any of them due to the tax.
“It costs money and materials, and even if somebody’s coming in and they’re not on the payroll yet, it still costs money to run that program,” Myers told The Evening Sun. “Ryan’s still with us, and he’s so special to me. Recently I had to call him and say, ‘Hey man, sorry, we don’t have any work.'”
The 40 percent tax is responsible for eliminating one-third of electronic cigarette businesses in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Vape Association organized an opposition rally at the state capitol building in demonstration against the onerous tax and to petition lawmakers to lower it to a more financially reasonable figure.
“It’s pretty brutal,” Mike Curry, owner of LifeSmoke Vapors, told The Evening Sun. “I don’t think anybody’s gonna survive. It’s just a matter of how long.”
The Pennsylvania Vape Association is imploring lawmakers to pass a bill reducing the 40 percent tax on products to a five cent per milliliter tax on nicotine fluid. State Sen. Camera Bartolotta and Rep. Jeff Wheeland introduced the bill towards the end of the 2016 legislative session, but support never materialized and lawmakers never voted.
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