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Tobacco Tax Equity Act of 2023

Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), along with U.S. Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-08), introduced the bicameral “Tobacco Tax Equity Act of 2023” (S.2429/H.R.5715).  In their news release, they said the bill would close tax code loopholes for tobacco products by establishing a new federal tax on e-cigarettes, updating the federal cigarette tax rate to restore its public health impact, and harmonizing the tax rate across tobacco products.

The tobacco tax provisions include substantial increases and an annual adjustment in the below proposed rates based on inflation:

  • Double the tax on cigarettes from $1.01 to $2.02 per pack.
  • Implement a new e-cigarette tax that would equalize to the tax on cigarettes (methodology based per 1,810 milligrams of nicotine)
  • Increase the tax on moist snuff from 11-cents per 1.2 oz. tin to $2.02 per can
  • Establish a new tax on smokeless tobacco sold in discrete single-use units (e.g. modern oral products) to $100.66 per thousand units
  • Double the tax on small cigars
  • Change to a new weight-based tax methodology (to $49.56/lb) on large cigars resulting in a substantial tax increase
  • Double the tax on RYO (from $24.78/lb to $49.56/lb)
  • Equalize the tax on chewing tobacco and pipe tobacco to tax these products like cigarettes

The tax increases in the bills are similar what is in the recently introduced “Care for Moms Act”, and in the “Tobacco Tax Equity Act” considered during the last Congress, which failed despite Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.

--- reprinted from the National Association of Tobacco Outlets

House Workforce Committee to Hold Hearing on DOL Overtime Rule

The U.S. House of Representatives Education and Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, chaired by Rep. Kevin Kiley (R-CA), will hold a hearing titled “Bad for Business: Department of Labor's Proposed Overtime Rule”.  The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 24 at 10:15 AM ET, and can be viewed online.

“America’s workforce thrives off three things: clear and consistent rulemaking, flexibility, and a government that allows job creators and employers to innovate. Unfortunately, the Biden administration has failed miserably in all three areas,” said Chairman Kiley. “The Department of Labor’s proposed overtime rule will impose new burdens on small businesses that are struggling under President Biden’s economic policies. Working Americans, small businesses, nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education, and taxpayers deserve to know how this rule will negatively impact their families and their livelihoods.”

The public can comment on DOL’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) until Nov. 7, 2023. 

Summary of proposed DOL rule: In this proposal, the Department of Labor (Department) is updating and revising the regulations issued under the Fair Labor Standards Act implementing the exemptions from minimum wage and overtime pay requirements for executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and computer employees. Significant proposed revisions include increasing the standard salary level to the 35th percentile of weekly earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region (currently the South)—$1,059 per week ($55,068 annually for a full-year worker)—and increasing the highly compensated employee total annual compensation threshold to the annualized weekly earnings of the 85th percentile of full-time salaried workers nationally ($143,988). The Department is also proposing to add to the regulations an automatic updating mechanism that would allow for the timely and efficient updating of all the earnings thresholds.

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