On behalf of the more than 30,000 Florida members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I write to urge that you support House Bill 523, which would establish a sensible tax policy with regard to moist smokeless tobacco (MST). MST, or "snuff," is currently taxed on its wholesale price. This "ad valorem" tax is arbitrary and unreasonable. HB 523 would instead impose a tax based on weight - a much more logical approach.
As a matter of simple socioeconomics, it makes far more sense to tax MST on its weight rather than its wholesale price. If taxing tobacco products is justified by the costs to third parties, then an ad valorem tax makes little sense. The use of an expensive brand of MST imposes no more costs on society or government than an inexpensive one, and yet, under the current regime, it suffers from higher taxes. Furthermore, ad valorem taxes are fundamentally different from the taxation of cigarettes, which is levied on the number of cigarettes in the pack.
HB 523 would bring MST tax policy in line with cigarette tax policy and our members hope that you will actively work to pass the bill. We look forward to working with you in the future to continue an informed dialogue over proposals that protect and expand taxpayers' rights.
Government Affairs Manager