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    U.S. House to Vote on SCHIP Bill

    Bill to include large tax increases on cigarettes and tobacco products.

    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. House of Representatives tentatively scheduled a vote on a bill to extend and expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) for Jan. 14 or 15, according to the National Tobacco Association (NATO). While the actual bill was not yet released, news reports indicate it will be very similar to the SCHIP expansion bill passed by Congress twice in 2007, and will include large tax increases on cigarettes and tobacco products, according to the association.

    Additionally, if the new SCHIP bill is similar to the 2007 version, there will also be a potentially devastating floor stocks tax that retailers and wholesalers will have to pay on cigarette and tobacco inventory (excluding large cigars), the association stated. The floor stocks tax is the difference between the current tax rate and the new higher tax rate on all inventory as of the date the higher taxes would become law.

    NATO coordinated an effort with five other national trade associations to fax a letter to all 535 members of Congress urging them to oppose the SCHIP tax increases. The associations joining with NATO include the American Wholesale Marketers Association (AWMA), the Southern Association of Wholesale Distributors (SAWD), the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), the Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA) and the National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO).

    Also, the same letter to Congress is being sent in the form of a letter-to-the-editor to some 300 major newspapers nationwide for publication, the association reported.

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