Sunday, March 24, 2013

Call to Action! West Virginia Smokeless Tobacco Tax Increase of 600%+ -- SB593 & HB3138 (DEFEATED)

West Virginia: 600%+ Increase in Smokeless Tobacco Tax (SB593 & HB3138)

[full text of SB593] [legislative tracking for SB593]
[full text of HB3138] [legislative tracking for HB3138]

UPDATE (4/1/2013): Senator Ron Stollings (D-Boone) has admitted that SB593 and its House companion are all but dead. Thank you to those who responded to this Call to Action. If you are from West Virginia, please e-mail the legislators listed below to note your continued opposition to increases in West Virginia's smokeless tobacco tax.

If enacted, these bills would:
Increase West Virginia's tax on smokeless tobacco products from 7% to 50% of wholesale price (please note that these bills would *not* tax e-cigarettes).
The proceeds of the taxes would be distributed as follows: Seventy-five percent to the West Virginia Medical Services Fund (Medicaid); one percent to the Civil Contingent Fund; and the balance to the General Revenue Fund.

These bills would also increase the tax on cigarettes by one dollar (from $0.55 to $1.55 per pack). CASAA does not take positions on taxes related to combustible tobacco products. 

SB539 and HB3138 are currently awaiting hearings in the Senate Health & Human Services Committee and the House Health & Human Services Committee, respectively. West Virginia's legislative session ends on April 13, 2013, so swift action is needed to stop these bills from becoming law. If you are in the Charleston, West Virginia area and may be able to testify against the smokeless tax increases, please e-mail CASAA at

Please call or write the members of the Human Health and Human Resources Committees in the House and Senate below.

1. Let them know that you oppose SB539 / HB3138 because it would impose an unnecessary and punitive tax increase on smokeless tobacco products.

2. Tell your story on how switching from cigarettes to a far less hazardous smoke-free tobacco product has changed your life.

3. Explain that the purpose of increasing cigarette tax rates was to reimburse state expenditures for treating the many diseases caused by cigarette smoking.  Because smokeless tobacco products have been found to be around 99% less harmful than cigarettes, there is no justification for such an outrageously excessive tax, which would discourage smokers from switching to a less harmful alternative.

4. Sharply increasing the smokeless tobacco tax rate also will encourage former smokers who had switched to using smokeless tobacco products to return to smoking.

5. Tell them that by switching to a smokeless product, you have greatly reduced your health risks.

6. Note that an increase in smokeless tobacco taxes will lead to more cross-border sales, as consumers who live near the West Virginia border can easily travel to Virginia ($0.22 per 1.2 oz can), Pennsylvania (no smokeless tax), Kentucky ($0.19 per unit), Ohio (19% of manufacturer's price), and Maryland (30% of manufacturer's price).

7. Direct them to the website for more information.

Senate Health and Human Resources Committee Members (to oppose SB539)

Comma delimited list:,,,,,,,,,,,,

Senator Ron Stollings (D -- Chair) (Boone, 07)
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7939

Senator Evan H. Jenkins (D -- Vice Chair) (Cabell, 05)
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7956

Senator Art Kirkendoll (D - Logan, 07)
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7857

Senator William R. Laird IV (D - Fayette, 10)
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7849

Senator Ronald F. Miller (D - Greenbrier, 10)
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7959

Senator Corey Palumbo (D - Kanawha, 17) (bill sponsor)
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7880

Senator Robert H. Plymale (D - Wayne, 05)
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7937

Senator Roman Prezioso (D - Marion, 13) (bill sponsor)
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7961

Senator Gregory A. Tucker (D - Nicholas, 11)
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7906

Senator Jack Yost (D - Brooke, 01)
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7984

Senator Donna J. Boley (R - Pleasants, 03)
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7905

Senator Mike Hall (R - Putnam, 04)
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7901

Senator Chris Walters (R - Putnam, 08)
Room 441M, Building 1
State Capitol Complex
Charleston, WV 25305
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7866 

House Health and Human Resources Committee Members (to oppose HB3138)

Comma delimited list:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, 

Delegate Don Perdue (D -- Chair) (Wayne, 19) (bill sponsor)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3269

Delegate David G. Perry (D -- Vice-Chair) (Fayette, 32)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3117

Delegate Joe Ellington (R -- Minority Chair) (Mercer, 27)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3172

Delegate Eric Householder (R -- Minority Vice-Chair) (Berkeley, 64)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3274

Delegate Phil Diserio (D - Brooke, 02)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3367 

Delegate Jeff Eldridge (D - Lincoln, 22)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340 - 3113

Delegate Denise Campbell (D - Randolph, 43)

Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3145

Delegate Ryan Ferns (D - Ohio, 03)

Capitol Phone: (304) 280-7133

Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer (D - Monongalia, 51)

Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3169

Delegate Tiffany Lawrence (D - Jefferson, 65)

Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3152

Delegate Charlene Marshall (D - Monongalia, 51)

Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3900

Delegate Clif Moore (D - McDowell, 26)

Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3189
Delegate Ricky Moye (D - Raleigh, 29)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3162

Delegate Measha Poore (D - Kanawha, 37)

Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3248

Delegate Margaret Staggers (D - Fayette, 32)

Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3197

Delegate Karen Arvon (R - Raleigh, 31)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340 - 3384 

Delegate Anna Border (R - Wood, 09)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3136

Delegate Daryl Cowles (R - Morgan, 58)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340 - 3177

Delegate Larry Faircloth (R - Berkeley, 60)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340 - 3147 

Delegate Patrick Lane (R - Kanawha, 38)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3275

Delegate Carol Miller (R - Cabell, 16)

Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3176

Delegate Amanda Pasdon (R - Monongalia, 51)

Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3153 

Delegate Ruth Rowan  (R - Hampshire, 57)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3157

Delegate Kelli Sobonya (R - Cabell, 18)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340 - 3175


Jennifer Askew said...

Sent an email. Even though I haven't felt the need to use snus or other smokeless tobacco products, my father has had to use it, so I told both my and my father's story. I also live in VA which borders W. VA. I hope they consider my email even though I am not a resident of W. VA.

j lew said...

Email Sent :)

You can read the full email letter I sent in ECF where this Call To Action is at...