Building back better on the backs, and wallets, of vapers
It’s no secret that congressional Democrats have both a deep need to raise taxes and a profound dislike for vaping.
They’ve found a way to unite those two impulses in a version of the so-called “Build Back Better” bill that’s meandering through Congress. It comes in the form of a big tax hike on vaping to help pay for a portion of the Democrats’ spending proposals:
The latest version of the “Build Back Better” plan that’s currently being considered in the House of Representatives would slap a new excise tax on any nicotine product “that has been extracted, concentrated, or synthesized” (i.e., nicotine-containing vaping liquid) at the rate of $50.33 per 1,810 milligrams of nicotine.
This is mercifully only half the size of the vaping tax that was included in the first version of the bill. It would nevertheless lead to a massive tax increase on vapers and the businesses that sell to them.
“This tax will close my shop,” Keith Gossett, the owner of Bucky’s Vape Shop in Columbus, Georgia, told Reason in September about the previous plan to tax vaping liquids at a rate of $100.66 per 1,810 milligrams of nicotine.
The old proposed tax hike would have raised the price of most nicotine-heavy products Gossett sold from $15 to around $75. The new tax proposed by Democrats would instead increase prices of the same products to about $45, or triple what they currently are.
That’s in the House. The Senate may be a different story – West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin thinks the higher vaping tax doesn’t make any sense “whatsoever.”
And the Democrat from West Virginia makes a solid point. Let’s hope this sudden embrace of common sense is used to scrutinize other weird, crazy, and cumbersome parts of the tax code.