CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Traci Nelson, president of the West Virginia Oil Marketers & Grocers Association (OMEGA) – an organization representing convenience stores and small retailers across West Virginia – has released the following statement urging West Virginia’s congressional delegation to oppose any federal excise tax increase on tobacco products from being included in the upcoming budget reconciliation package:
“During his campaign, President Biden repeatedly promised not to raise taxes on Americans making under $400,000, and he vowed to support small business struggling to recover from the pandemic. If Congress raises the federal excise tax on tobacco products as a pay-for in the upcoming budget reconciliation package, then these promises will be broken.
By raising the federal excise tax on tobacco, Congress would be imposing a higher regressive tax on lower-income Americans, driving down critical revenues from small businesses already struggling to recover, and encouraging criminal enterprises and gangs to sell cheaper tobacco on the black market.
Making matters worse, some in Congress want to raise the taxes on non-combustible cigarette alternatives that many smokers use as a glidepath to quitting entirely – like vaping devices. By making cigarette alternatives as expensive as cigarettes, this proposal would disincentivize smokers from switching and counteract the goal of smoking cessation.
If Congress truly cares about helping people quit smoking, supporting small businesses and working Americans, and keeping our streets safe, then they must oppose any increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco products in the upcoming reconciliation bill.”
About the West Virginia Oil Marketers & Grocers Association:
The West Virginia Oil Marketers & Grocers Association (OMEGA) was organized to promote and improve the business interests of those engaged in the petroleum marketing, retail grocery and convenience store industries within the State of West Virginia. Most OMEGA members are home grown West Virginia businesses. The nearly 300 member companies employ over 2.5 percent of the State’s population – more than 50,000 residents. Employees of member companies blend the fuels, deliver the gasoline, stock the shelves and work the counters – all of which brings comfort and convenience to your life.