Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Call to Action: Maryland Wants to Raise the Tax on Smokeless Tobacco from 30% to 95%


HB 443 
SB 589

Two bills have been introduced in Maryland that would increase Maryland's tax on "other tobacco products" from 30% to 95% of the wholesale price.  While these bills do not immediately tax e-cigarettes, we expect that if passed, there will be an effort next year to define e-cigarettes as "other tobacco products" and tax them accordingly.  CASAA members are asked to fight against this outrageous tax on an incredibly low-risk alternative to smoking.

HB 443 is set for a hearing on THURSDAY, February 20th, 2014 at 1:00 P.M. in the House Ways and Means Committee.

SB 589 is set for a hearing on WEDNESDAY, February 26th at 1:00 P.M. in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.

Action is needed against these bills!    These bills are in two different committees, so please follow the below steps.  The talking points for both bills are the same and are included in Part III below.

(Note that there are now two Maryland Calls to Action.  In addition to this Call to Action dealing with smokeless tobacco, there is currently a separate Maryland Call to Action involving an attempt to ban e-cigarette use wherever smoking is prohibited.)



I.  First, please call and email members of the House Ways and Means Committee regarding House Bill 443.  Contact information for Committee members is below, and suggested talking points are included in Part III at the end of this Call to Action.

Comma delimited email:  sheila.hixson@house.state.md.us, sheila.hixson.annapolis@house.state.md.us, frank.turner@house.state.md.us, kathy.afzali@house.state.md.us, kumar.barve@house.state.md.us, kumarbarve@gmail.com, joseph.boteler@house.state.md.us, talmadge.branch@house.state.md.us, jon.cardin@house.state.md.us, mark.fisher@house.state.md.us, bill.frick@house.state.md.us, ron.george@house.state.md.us, nina.harper@house.state.md.us, carolyn.howard@house.state.md.us, jolene.ivey@house.state.md.us, anne.kaiser@house.state.md.us, eric.luedtke@house.state.md.us, aruna.miller@house.state.md.us, leroy.myers@house.state.md.us, andrew.serafini@house.state.md.us, melvin.stukes@house.state.md.us, michael.summers@house.state.md.us, jay.walker@house.state.md.us, alonzo.washington@house.state.md.us

SHEILA ELLIS HIXSON- CHAIR
Democrat, District 20, Montgomery County
(410) 841-3469, (301) 858-3469, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3469 (toll free)
e-mail: sheila.hixson@house.state.md.us (scheduling & appointments)
e-mail: sheila.hixson.annapolis@house.state.md.us (constituent services)
fax: (410) 841-3777, (301) 858-3777

FRANK S. TURNER- VICE CHAIR
Democrat, District 13, Howard County
(410) 841-3246, (301) 858-3246, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3246 (toll free)
e-mail: frank.turner@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3986, (301) 858-3986

KATHRYN L. AFZALI
Republican, District 4A, Frederick County
(410) 841-3288, (301) 858-3288, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3288 (toll free)
e-mail: kathy.afzali@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3184, (301) 858-3184

KUMAR P. BARVE
Democrat, District 17, Montgomery County
(410) 841-3464, (301) 858-3464, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3464 (toll free)
e-mail: kumar.barve@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3850, (301) 858-3850
e-mail: kumarbarve@gmail.com

JOSEPH C. BOTELER III
Republican, District 8, Baltimore County
(410) 841-3365, (301) 858-3365, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3365 (toll free)
e-mail: joseph.boteler@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3034, (301) 858-3034

TALMADGE BRANCH
Democrat, District 45, Baltimore City
(410) 841-3398, (301) 858-3398, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3398 (toll free)
e-mail: talmadge.branch@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3550, (301) 858-3550

JON S. CARDIN
Democrat, District 11, Baltimore County
(410) 841-3833, (301) 858-3833, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3833 (toll free)
e-mail: jon.cardin@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3373, (301) 858-3373

MARK N. FISHER
Republican, District 27B, Calvert County
(410) 841-3231, (301) 858-3231, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3231 (toll free)
e-mail: mark.fisher@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3335, (301) 858-3335

C. WILLIAM (BILL) FRICK
Democrat, District 16, Montgomery County
(410) 841-3454, (301) 858-3454, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3454 (toll free)
e-mail: bill.frick@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3457, (301) 858-3457

RON GEORGE
Republican, District 30, Anne Arundel County
(410) 841-3439, (301) 858-3439, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3439 (toll free)
e-mail: ron.george@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3256, (301) 858-3256

NINA R. HARPER
Democrat, District 45, Baltimore City
(410) 841-3486, (301) 858-3486, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3486 (toll free)
e-mail: nina.harper@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3467, (301) 858-3467

CAROLYN J. B. HOWARD
Democrat, District 24, Prince George's County
(410) 841-3919, (301) 858-3919, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3919 (toll free)
e-mail: carolyn.howard@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3925, (301) 858-3925

JOLENE IVEY
Democrat, District 47, Prince George's County
(410) 841-3478, (301) 858-3478, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3478 (toll free)
e-mail: jolene.ivey@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3727, (301) 858-3727

ANNE R. KAISER
Democrat, District 14, Montgomery County
(410) 841-3036, (301) 858-3036, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3036 (toll free)
e-mail: anne.kaiser@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3060, (301) 858-3060

ERIC G. LUEDTKE
Democrat, District 14, Montgomery County
(410) 841-3110, (301) 858-3110, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3110 (toll free)
e-mail: eric.luedtke@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3053, (301) 858-3053

ARUNA MILLER
Democrat, District 15, Montgomery County
(410) 841-3090, (301) 858-3090, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3090 (toll free)
e-mail: aruna.miller@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3126, (301) 858-3126

LeROY E. MYERS, JR.
Republican, District 1C, Allegany & Washington Counties
(410) 841-3321, (301) 858-3321, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3321 (toll free)
e-mail: leroy.myers@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3448, (301) 858-3448

ANDREW A. SERAFINI
Republican, District 2A, Washington County
(410) 841-3447, (301) 858-3447
e-mail: andrew.serafini@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3818, (301) 858-3818

MELVIN L. STUKES
Democrat, District 44, Baltimore City
(410) 841-3544, (301) 858-3544, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3544 (toll free)
e-mail: melvin.stukes@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3384, (301) 858-3384

MICHAEL G. SUMMERS
Democrat, District 47, Prince George's County
(410) 841-3340, (301) 858-3340, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3340 (toll free)
e-mail: michael.summers@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3239, (301) 858-3239

JAY WALKER
Democrat, District 26, Prince George's County
(410) 841-3581, (301) 858-3581, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3581 (toll free)
e-mail: jay.walker@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3078, (301) 858-3078

ALONZO T. WASHINGTON
Democrat, District 22, Prince George's County
(410) 841-3652, (301) 858-3652, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3652 (toll free)
e-mail: alonzo.washington@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3699, (301) 858-3699

II.  Second, please call and email members of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee regarding Senate Bill 589.  Contact information for Committee members is below, and suggested talking points are included in Part III at the end of this Call to Action.

Comma delimited email:  edward.kasemeyer@senate.state.md.us, nathaniel.mcfadden@senate.state.md.us, richard.colburn@senate.state.md.us, ulysses.currie@senate.state.md.us, james.degrange@senate.state.md.us, george.edwards@senate.state.md.us, george.edwards.district@senate.state.md.us, joseph.getty@senate.state.md.us, verna.jones@senate.state.md.us, nancy.king@senate.state.md.us, richard.madaleno@senate.state.md.us, roger.manno@senate.state.md.us, douglas.peters@senate.state.md.us, james.robey@senate.state.md.us

EDWARD J. KASEMEYER - CHAIR
Democrat, District 12, Baltimore & Howard Counties
(410) 841-3653, (301) 858-3653, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3653 (toll free)
e-mail: edward.kasemeyer@senate.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3850, (301) 858-3850

NATHANIEL J. McFADDEN - VICE CHAIR
Democrat, District 45, Baltimore City
(410) 841-3165, (301) 858-3165, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3165 (toll free)
e-mail: nathaniel.mcfadden@senate.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3138, (301) 858-3138

RICHARD F. COLBURN
Republican, District 37, Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot & Wicomico Counties
(410) 841-3590, (301) 858-3590, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3590 (toll free)
e-mail: richard.colburn@senate.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3087, (301) 858-3087

ULYSSES CURRIE
Democrat, District 25, Prince George's County
(301) 858-3127, (410) 841-3127, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3127 (toll free)
e-mail: ulysses.currie@senate.state.md.us
fax: (301) 858-3733, (410) 841-3733

JAMES E. (ED) DeGRANGE, SR.
Democrat, District 32, Anne Arundel County
(410) 841-3593, (301) 858-3593, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3593 (toll free)
e-mail: james.degrange@senate.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3589, (301) 858-3589

GEORGE C. EDWARDS
Republican, District 1, Allegany & Garrett Counties, & parts of Washington County
(410) 841-3565, (301) 858-3565, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3565 (toll free)
e-mail: george.edwards@senate.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3552, (301) 858-3552
e-mail: george.edwards.district@senate.state.md.us
fax: (301) 722-4790

JOSEPH M. GETTY
Republican, District 5, Baltimore County & Carroll County
(410) 841-3683, (301) 858-3683, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3683 (toll free)
e-mail: joseph.getty@senate.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3569, (301) 858-3569

VERNA L. JONES-RODWELL
Democrat, District 44, Baltimore City
(410) 841-3612, (301) 858-3612, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3612 (toll free)
e-mail: verna.jones@senate.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3613, (301) 858-3613

NANCY J. KING
Democrat, District 39, Montgomery County
(410) 841-3686, (301) 858-3686, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3686 (toll free)
e-mail: nancy.king@senate.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3670, (301) 858-3670

RICHARD STUART MADALENO, JR.
Democrat, District 18, Montgomery County
(410) 841-3137, (301) 858-3137, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3137 (toll free)
e-mail: richard.madaleno@senate.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3676, (301) 858-3676

ROGER MANNO
Democrat, District 19, Montgomery County
(410) 841-3151, (301) 858-3151, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3151 (toll free)
e-mail: roger.manno@senate.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3740, (301) 858-3740

DOUGLAS J. J. PETERS
Democrat, District 23, Prince George's County
(410) 841-3631, (301) 858-3631, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3631 (toll free)
e-mail: douglas.peters@senate.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3174, (301) 858-3174

JAMES N. ROBEY
Democrat, District 13, Howard County
(410) 841-3572, (301) 858-3572, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3572 (toll free)
e-mail: james.robey@senate.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3455, (301) 858-3455

III.  Third, the talking points for both HB 443 and SB 589 are the same:

1. You are a Maryland resident, and you oppose HB443 and SB589 because they would impose an unnecessary and punitive tax increase on smokeless tobacco products.  (If you are responding to this Call to Action and are not a state resident, please mention any connection you have to the area, for example, you travel to Maryland on vacation or have friends/family in the area.)

2. Tell your story on how switching from smoking 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 and to discourage smoking given the many documented health hazards.  Those concerns simply do not apply to smokeless products given that they pose an estimated 1% of the risk of that of smoking.
  • Because smokeless tobacco products are taxed at a much lower rate in neighboring states, many or most smokeless tobacco users in Maryland will travel a short distance to a neighboring state to buy tobacco, which will result in very little tax revenue increase for Maryland.  Adjacent states include:  Pennsylvania (no smokeless tax), West Virginia (7% of wholesale price), Virginia (10% of manufacturer's price) and Delaware (15% of wholesale price).
  • Sharply increasing the smokeless tobacco tax rate also will encourage former smokers who had switched to using smokeless tobacco products to return to smoking.
  • Supporters of this legislation claim that punitive taxes should be imposed on all tobacco products for public health reasons.  However, the truth is that there is absolutely no public health benefit to excessively taxing products that pose an estimated 1% of the risk of that of smoking.  In fact, imposing high taxes on low-risk products will work against the interests of public health by discouraging smokers from using a far, far safer alternative to smoking.
  • By switching to a smokeless product, you have greatly reduced your health risks.

4 . Direct them to the CASAA.org website, as well as the CASAA Research Library, for more information.

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