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Revitalized and Vaporized

Summer just goes by way too fast. I can’t believe the calendar reads August! Before month’s end the kiddies will be back in school, football will be in full swing and another Little League World Series will be in the books.

Just a thought for you. If the everyday grind and rigors of life have you down a little bit. If you’re tired of Trump, Hillary and all the bad news on TV. Here’s a great way to put some spring back in your step and just feel better about life.

We have been blessed by some of the most amazing sunrises and sets lately. Get out and enjoy the splendor of the West Branch Valley sky. If you are an early riser get up and out and listen to nature come alive as the sun awakens the world. The early mornings have been clear which provides vivid color as the red and orange hues of the sun push back the darkness of night. The bright blue morning horizon has been spectacular.

If maybe morning isn’t your cup of tea or should I say coffee, the sunsets have been extraordinary. The jet streams and clouds have been illuminated in red, pink and purple shades. Each night has provided a different painting of Mother Nature’s beauty. As the sun disappears into the western horizon the perfect sounds of a summer night fill the air, complete with firefly illumination.

Take some time and enjoy the beginning and ending of each day, clear your mind, say a little prayer, give thanks for all you are blessed with. These simple actions will revitalize you and your outlook. It will provide a little inner peace, which is so much needed in today’s world.

Now back to the real world and another example of government gone wild. This time a decision made in Harrisburg affects a local small business owner in a most detrimental way.

Chris Hughes owner of the Fat Cat Vapor Shop reached out to me with a most disheartening story. He is in the business of helping people kick the smoking habit with electronic cigarettes and vaping products.

Mr. Hughes has built a business from the ground up and a funny thing happened on the way to work, it has become a labor of love. The ability for him to help his fellow man kick one of the toughest addictions that usually results in death from cancer.

Mr. Hughes informed me and I confirmed the facts that the geniuses in Harrisburg passed legislation that will suck the vapor out of his business and most like it. They levied a 40% tax on the products he sells. Forty Percent! There is a required floor component in the bill, this requires every seller of these products to do an inventory on October 1 and write a check to the State for 40% of the wholesale value of their inventory. This must be paid by December 30 or you face criminal penalties, fines and/or up to five years in jail for not doing so. Wow! The State is tougher on the vapor providers than drug dealers.

For the record, State Representatives Garth Everett and Mike Hanna voted for this ridiculous example of government. Senator Gene Yaw and Representative Jeff Wheeland opposed this 40% strong arm.

“The law will be catastrophic for my business,” Mr. Hughes stated. Any business receiving a 40% sucker punch would have a tough time surviving in today’s economy. My heart goes out to him and those who benefit from the service he provides.

What an example of government lacking commonsense which from my eyes is corruption induced. This single tax will provide 650 million–1.6 billion into the Harrisburg coffers.

Vaping is 95% more safe than smoking. Over a half million Pennsylvanians have kicked their habit in favor of e-cigarettes. It has been a huge step in the right direction for so many folks who struggle with an addiction to tobacco.

“My customers are beside themselves, many have almost been in tears when speaking with me,” stated Mr. Hughes.

I know firsthand how near impossible it is to quit smoking. My Dad attempted many times to quit, one time making it I believe two years only to cave into the craving of tobacco. As you probably remember my Dad lost his life to lung cancer.

As far as where the corruption enters the picture you will never convince me that the big business of the tobacco industry and their lobbyists are not putting the squeeze on the State and Feds when it comes to the e-cigarette industry. It’s obviously taken a drag out of their profits.

Next up, the American Cancer Society and American Lung Association. No, I’m not losing my marbles and you read that right.

They were the original pushers for the 40% tax. Why? Follow the money trail – some of the largest donors to these organizations are the pharmaceutical companies. These companies started taking a big hit on their nicotine replacement and therapy products worldwide due to the success of vaping.

It is speculated that close ties to the pharmaceutical companies affect their organizations views on vaping. How about embracing any way possible to quit the deadly habit?

Lastly, Governor Wolf in sheep’s clothing. He has yet to officially sign a budget. It doesn’t matter though, in Pennsylvania when the General Assembly passes budget legislation the Governor has 10 days to either sign or veto the document. His signature is not required for it to become law. The 2016–2017 just became binding without the use of his pen.

Why he has not signed is simple, he wants more money to spend. It doesn’t matter if it’s corporate tax or from the individual taxpayer. This equates to pressure on the State Assembly to pass ridiculous taxes like the one on the vaping industry to create compromise and pass a state budget. Politics as usual in Harrisburg.

Well at least Governor Wolf in sheep’s clothing is saving us money on ink.

God Bless America.

Jim Webb

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