Vape shop owners protest tax proposal - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Vape shop owners protest tax proposal

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Vape store owners protested on Thursday because lawmakers are looking at imposing a 75 percent wholesale tax on them. (WFSB) Vape store owners protested on Thursday because lawmakers are looking at imposing a 75 percent wholesale tax on them. (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Some Connecticut business owners protested a tax proposal that they said could put them out of business.

These vaping businesses said lawmakers are looking at imposing a 75 percent wholesale tax on them.

The rally took place at the Legislative Office Building on Thursday morning as organizers said it was a last ditch effort to get noticed.  

“I’m here trying to protect my industry,” Jason Stea, who is the owner of Vapor Well, said.

Vape shop owners said will be tacked on to what they buy from vendors. 

Andrew O’Bright, who owns Vapor 9 and two other stores, took the example of a 1,000 order from a vendor.  

“You would owe 750 on that $1000, straight to the state," O’Bright said. "That’s just not a way we can run a business,” said.

O’Bright said the bottom line is his livelihood is on the line.

“Me, personally I’d lose my job, plain and simple,” O’Bright said.

There are about 90 vape shops in Connecticut and these shop owners predict this tax could put many of them out of business.  

“I own a store here, I also own a manufacturing company here in the state of Connecticut for the vape industry,” Stea said. “All our products are made in this state, support the state, put food on tables for people.”

Lawmakers predict the tax could bring in millions of dollars in revenue. But these shop owners argue it will be at the expense of jobs.

“Passing it on to customers would immediately lead to online sales. It’s very easy to go online and buy our products,” O’Bright said. “They have no overhead, they already undercut us as it is, so we have to compete somehow.”

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