March 16, 2010
As a valued member of the Associated Industries of Florida, we wanted to alert your organization to an important issue that is being considered this legislative session, Non-Participating Manufacturers (NPM) Fee legislation on cigarettes. In 1997, tobacco manufacturers were required to sign the Florida Tobacco Settlement to contribute to the health care costs in our state. However, many small tobacco manufacturers were not forced to sign on since they represented a small percentage of the cigarette market in Florida.
These non-participating companies now make up a large percentage of the cigarette market in Florida because of their price advantage as a result of their exemption from paying into the Settlement. Recently, Sen. Thad Altman (R-Melbourne) filed SB 2344, which would require all tobacco manufacturers, regardless of their size or market share, to pay into the Settlement and contribute to Florida’s health care system.
Earlier this year, the Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) released poll results showing nearly 65 percent of Floridians support non-participating manufacturers paying into the Settlement. The overwhelming support of this poll reinforces why our lawmakers need to pass legislation that will make every tobacco manufacturer contribute to Florida’s medical costs.
We ask your organization to consider supporting this legislation, and even possibly join an informal coalition backing NPM legislation. During this tough economic climate, there is absolutely no reason why we should ignore the hundreds of millions of dollars our state could collect if all tobacco companies contributed to Florida’s health care costs. It is time for all tobacco companies to pay their fair share.
For more information on this issue, please visit http://floridaneedsyou.com/