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Cigar Taxes and Illegal Immigration

Submitted by Oliver on June 2, 2010 – 6:00 am3 Comments

Immigration is a hot topic issue sweeping the headlines these days, and not surprisingly it even comes up in the context of the cigar industry.  About a week ago I had the opportunity and pleasure of spending some time with the good folks of La Aurora, and when I mentioned that I hailed from the desert state of Arizona, the first question off of their lips was “what do you think of the immigration issue?” Naturally I prepared myself for the powder-keg explosion of the topic, but on the contrary a nice civil discourse took place instead.

It started with Jose Blanco, the affable head of sales for La Aurora, discoursing on the state of the cigar tax in the industry.  At first I scratched my head and thought “what does the cigar tax have to do with immigration?” but soon all would be revealed.  When the rumoring of a ten dollar cigar tax started floating about the industry, a study of the cigar industry was quickly executed by Dr. Alejandro Martinez Cuenca of Joya De Nicaragua and Jose Blanco of La Aurora.

In the study they found that close to a quarter of a million individuals who worked in the factories would be affected by the increase in taxes.  As Jose Blanco posited it,  if those factory workers all belong to typical family units, then up to a million individuals throughout the Central and South American regions would be adversely affected and most likely be in search of new economic opportunities.  In short , this would be where immigration comes into play.

Displaced workers would work their way towards the US borders in droves, in hopes of better economic opportunities.  Meanwhile, the small brick and mortar tobacconists in the states would be shutting down due to their overtaxed establishments.  These economic and immigration woes would all be a result of the overtaxation of the cigar industry.

As Jose stated, immigration should be done through the proper channels, and those who go about it the right way should be rewarded, but an increase in taxes will continue to pummel an industry that is a major supporter of the economies of the Americas.  Point in case, La Aurora pays about ten percent of their countries national budget.  To put that in further focus, they are about 2.8% of their countries Gross Domestic Product!  Numbers like that illustrate quite handily the scope and size of these cigar producers.  If one takes away the industry by overtaxation, then many individuals will be displaced.

George Washington, one of our founding fathers, once said “If you can’t send money, send tobacco.”  Our proud country was founded on the major economic movement of tobacco, to take away this cultural heritage through continual taxing invites illegal immigration to increase, and the job market of the cigar industry in the states to diminish.  Jose Blanco and Guillermo Leon, the president of La Aurora had a vision for inviting the blogging  community down to their factory in the Dominican Republic, and that was to help create a community of informed writers.  Their heart is for the industry and their message is clear an informed reader is the best cigar buyer.  Being informed about the evils of cigar taxes is an important first step for our industry.  Thomas Jefferson in one of his treatises about government and religion stated that the day people gave up on caring and being informed, is the day that our government will fall apart and collapse into a corrupt machine.  So if you want to limit illegal immigration, keep small businesses in the USA, then take up the local and national fight against the cigar taxes in areas near you!

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