There may be light at the end of the tunnel for vape shops and manufacturers in Pennsylvania. A state senator will introduce a bill soon that would eliminate the 40 percent “floor tax” on inventory in all Pennsylvania vapor businesses.

Sen. Camera Bartolotta’s bill will be similar to a house bill (HB 2342) introduced by Rep. Jeff Wheeland. Both efforts would replace the floor tax and the ongoing 40 percent wholesale tax with a five-cents-per-milliliter tax on all e-liquids.

Wheeland is the state representative in the district that includes Fat Cat Vapor, the shop owned by Chris Hughes. Hughes is running as a write-in candidate in his own district (where he lives). The representative in that district voted for the crushing tax, and Hughes is hoping to have an impact across the state and nationally by taking the state rep’s seat.

As things stand currently, every vape business will have to pay the state 40 percent of the cost of all merchandise on hand as of October 1, and then 40 percent on all merchandise purchased by the business going forward. Sen. Bartolotta says he’s trying to offer a compromise solution that “will protect small business owners but also generate income for the state moving forward.”

If these bills pass and are signed by the governor, the tax would switch to five cents per milliliter on every bottle of e-liquid sold. No one is a fan of any tax on vapor products, but vapers and vendors should support the compromise. If the bills pass immediately, Pennsylvania’s estimated 300 vape shops might be saved from almost certain death.

Meanwhile, everyone who cares about the future of vaping should consider donating to the Chris Hughes campaign. If he wins, an instant message would be telegraphed to elected officials in every state: don’t mess with vapers.

Pennsylvania vapers are also holding a rally at the state capitol in Harrisburg on September 26, 1:00 p.m. at the main rotunda. This is a great chance to show that vapers care about protecting the small businesses that help us all!

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