Trenton, NJ - A group of 47 independent small business owners that own retail vapor establishments located throughout the state and sell electronic cigarettes announced today the formation of the New Jersey Vapor Retailers Coalition in order to oppose the tax proposed by Governor Christie on electronic cigarettes in his proposed budget. The Coalition is being represented by national public affairs firm MWW Group and the coalition counsel is Edward J. Albowicz, Esq., Counsel, Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer P.A. of Woodbridge, NJ.
Governor Christie’s budget anticipates $35 million in revenue by enacting "tax parity" between cigarettes (currently taxed at $2.70 per pack) and electronic cigarettes, which can be used to deliver nicotine in a water-like vapor.
The New Jersey Vapor Retailers Coalition will immediately look to set up meetings with legislators in the Assembly and Senate, as well as members of the Christie Administration to educate them on how the tax on e-cigarettes will negatively affect small business owners. The Coalition will also look to work together with other groups that will be negatively impacted by taxing e-cigarettes.
“By passing this new tax in New Jersey the Governor and Legislature are hurting many more organizations than just the retailers represented in this coalition,” said Rich Levesque, VP of Public Affairs at MWW, representing the Coalition. “Many other retailers sell the product which accounts for around $2 billion in sales nationwide. They include, retail pharmacies, gas stations and convenience stores, supermarkets, etc.”
Members of the New Jersey Vapor Retailers Coalition believe this tax will effectively put them out of business and halt any further expansion in the New Jersey market, especially with retail vapor establishments operating across the borders of New Jersey in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York. These vendors and retail owners are already contributing to the economy in New Jersey through employment, business taxes, sales tax and local philanthropic activities.
Minnesota is currently the only state in the country that taxes electronic cigarettes at the same rate as tobacco products. Since Minnesota passed this tax in 2010, similar bills in Hawaii, Massachusetts, Washington, and other states have failed to become law.