Now is not the time to put an additional financial burden on Maine residents, Maine retailers, Maine small business owners. Our state legislature is continuing to examine the benefits of doubling the tax rate on all tobacco products in this year’s legislative session. Instead of a $2 per pack tax on a pack of cigarettes, it would double to $4.

The financial burden a tobacco tax increase would put on low income residents of our state will not have the intended results. Time and again, across the country, it’s been proven that tobacco taxes are regressive. Raising taxes will have relativity little effect on projected outcomes. Tobacco taxes are already an unreliable source of tax revenue. I suggest our elected officials find other ways to fund their projects.

As a retailer and small business owner, I urge Gov. Mills and Rep. Sean Paulhus to seriously consider the dangers of tobacco tax increases and flavor ban. We are watching this play out in Massachusetts right now with an increase in the smuggling of unregulated, untested tobacco product and cross boarder sales. This is a scenario we will see in Maine if the legislature has their way.

Our elected officials must hear about and know the unintended consequences of their good natured intentions. Before moving forward with a tobacco tax increase, I ask that you consider the burden you are putting on all residents that currently use tobacco products, as well as Maine retailers.

Steve Brackett,

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