Obama signed the federal highway bill this afternoon, but there is more to this bill than meets the eye.
Besides the fact that it will allow spending of $105 billion dollars, a huge tax increase is hidden in this bill that will affect many. Roll-your-own (RYO) cigarette stores have been around for some time, and due to the high price of smokes, mainly due to monstrous tax, many people are choosing to roll their own in these stores.
Because the tobacco and papers used are bought by the store owners separately and in bulk, high taxation has been avoided; at least until now. With the stroke of his pen, Obama will sign into law a gigantic increase in tax on all those who have RYO stores. The tax on ROY tobacco will increase from $1.10 a pound to $24.78 a pound. In addition, this bill will redefine tobacco manufacturers to include any business in the country that has a roll-your-own cigarette machine, and require small tobacco business to obtain a manufacturers license.
Why was this provision added to a highway bill? Well, Altria, the owner of tobacco giant Philip Morris, has been lobbying Congress for this federal legislation. Other large cigarette manufactures have been as well, so it should be obvious that they want to eliminate their competition, and Congress and Obama are making sure that happens.
It is simply protectionism meant to benefit the large companies who are big contributors to both political parties. Corruption abounds, but in this case, many will lose their businesses, and with those lost businesses comes many lost jobs.