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Minnesota – [Concluded] Keep Vapor Taxes Out of The Budget!
05/03-05/07/21 – Taxes Conference Committee meets.
04/26-4/30/21 – Moved to Conference Committee, Conference committee guidelines accepted, Taxes Cmte. Senate Conferees assigned.
04/20/21 – Taxes Committee meetings scheduled for April 22 and April 23 at 8:30 AM. Agendas
Minnesota’s Budget Process
The Minnesota state budget operates on a two-year cycle, or biennium, covering two fiscal years. A fiscal year (FY) begins on July 1 and ends on June 30 of the following year and is designated by the year in which it ends; thus FY 2014 begins on July 1, 2013 and ends on June 30, 2014. The biennium begins on July 1 of odd-numbered years. (Read more about MN’s budget…)
Vapor Taxes are being included in the state’s omnibus budget bill. The proposal is to expand the existing tax by imposing a 95% wholesale tax on devices. Currently, the state only taxes the nicotine contained in e-liquid.
Please use the contact information provided for the Taxes Conference Committee to send messages, make phone calls, and post tweets urging committee members to reject more taxes on safer alternatives to smoking and keep the expanded vapor tax out of Minnesota’s budget.
Take Action Now!
Minnesota Residents ONLY!
Email addresses for committee members are provided below. CASAA is also providing a Sample Message that you are free to edit and send. This engagement cannot be automated due to lawmakers restricting communications to constituents only (in spite of the fact that small committees make decisions that affect the entire state).
Please take a moment to contact members of the Taxes Conference Committee and urge them to keep vapor taxes out of the budget.
Committee Member, District, and Phone Number
Paul Marquart (04B, DFL) 651-296-6829
Cheryl Youakim (46B, DFL) 651-296-9889
Kaohly Vang Her (64A, DFL) 651-296-8799
Dave Lislegard (06B, DFL) 651-296-0170
Greg Davids (28B, R) 651-296-9278
Carla J. Nelson (26, R) 651-296-4848
Bill Weber (22, R) 651-296-5650
Jeremy R. Miller (28, R) 651-296-5649
Thomas M. Bakk (03, I) 651-296-8881
Ann H. Rest (45, DFL) 651-296-2889
Comma delimited email list:
(copy/paste into the “to” field of your email)
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
The following committee members only accept communications via online form:
Bill Weber: Online form
Thomas Bakk: Online form
Ann Rest: Online form
Active Twitter Accounts for Committee Members:
- Urge committee members to reject extra taxes on vaping in the state’s budget and any legislation that would make safer alternatives to smoking less affordable.
- Share your experience with switching to vapor products. If affordability compared to continuing to smoke was a motivating factor for trying vaping or other smoke-free products, be sure to include that in your comments. Conversely, if the already high initial cost of these products delayed your first purchase, highlight this instead. Be sure to include any changes in your health that you’ve experienced as a result of switching to safer nicotine or tobacco products.
- Taxes on traditional cigarettes are intended to discourage use. But, e-cigarettes and other smoke-free tobacco products are estimated to be 98 – 99% less harmful than smoking, discouraging use is counter to the goals of reducing smoking rates.
- Other governments are taking the exact opposite approach. Public Health England (the government public health agency) recently explicitly endorsed a policy of encouraging smokers to switch to e-cigarettes and vapor products (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/e-cigarettes-an-evidence-update).
- Sin taxes are regressive. People who smoke and those who switch to vaping and other smoke-free alternatives are disproportionately poor and low income people. Sin taxes place unnecessary burdens on an already financially challenged group. To make matters worse, people in the low-income bracket are less likely to be insured and lack access to health care providers. The affordable resources available to these people have low success rates.
- Imposing a tax on these products will drive consumers to shop in neighboring states that do not have a similar tax. Concurrently, consumers will be encouraged to shop online for better deals, sending even more money out of the community. Local businesses will not be able to compete, be forced to close their doors, and jobs will be lost. This is bad for the state and will result in less revenue, not more.
- It is important to note that vapor products are already subject to a general sales tax.
- Taxing smoke-free tobacco and nicotine products in a manner similar to how combustible tobacco products are taxed sends a confusing and inaccurate message to would-be adopters that these two very different products present similar risks. The result of this message is that more people, those that otherwise would have switched to a smoke-free product, will be encouraged to continue smoking.
Members of the Senate Taxes Committee,
I am writing as a voter, taxpayer in Minnesota urging you to reject an extra 95% tax on nicotine vapor devices in the state’s budget bill. This additional tax on vaping is unjustifiable and would negatively affect my access to low-risk, smoke-free products. It does not make sense that Minnesota would want to make it more difficult for people who smoke to switch to demonstrably safer alternatives to cigarettes. Subjecting smoke-free vapor products to a sin tax is punitive and discourages people from switching to safer nicotine products.
Minnesota’s existing 95% tax on nicotine is already protecting sales of traditional cigarettes and encouraging people who smoke to keep smoking. This is counter to modern advice from The Royal College of Physicians (a 500-year old professional organization which is one of the most respected in the world) which recently recommended promoting vapor products widely to smokers as an alternative to combusted cigarettes.
Minnesota should be promoting innovative products–like vapor products and “heat-not-burn”–that advance the public health goal of reducing the early death and disease attributed to smoking. There is overwhelming evidence–ranging from systematic studies to thousands of detailed testimonials–showing that smoke-free vapor and tobacco products help people who smoke to quit or reduce their smoking habit, even after they have unsuccessfully tried every other method. Expanding the 95% wholesale tax on nicotine to include devices punishes people for making better health choices.
I along with my fellow members of The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) urge you to resist calls for increased taxes and overregulation from misguided activists that seek to impede adult access to far less hazardous alternatives to smoking. I look forward to your response on this issue and I am available for any questions you might have.
Thank you,[your name][address][phone and email]