As we prepare the next two to four years, we look forward to building strong relationships with the new administration and all members of the 117th congress. The Premium Cigar Association is a bipartisan organization who prides ourself on the ability to bring people together from different industries, political parties, regions, and more over premium cigars. This bi-partisan mentality also exists within our government relations strategy and purpose, where we will gladly meet with, work with, and educate those policymakers on both sides of the aisle. As the Biden Administration begins the transition period, we will begin working with them concurrently with the existing administration to protect premium cigars and the interests of all PCA members.
When it comes to the legislature, there are still several unanswered questions regarding the Senate, however, the majority of the House of Representatives has been decided. As it currently stands, the House will retain a Democratic majority, but, several key races have yet to be called. One particular race that was lost was the re-election of Donna Shalala who worked on the Pallone anti-tobacco bill and brokered an exemption for some premium cigars.
With the House of Representatives retaining a Democrat majority, eyes ar now on the Senate. At present, the Republicans have a lead of 50 to 46, but, seeing as Georgia has two runoff elections coming up on January 5th, the race is still on. These races are particularly important to the PCA, as David Perdue has been a staunch ally to the premium cigar industry. If Purdue wins, this would produce a Republican Majority in the Senate. The PCA favors such an outcome because having the balance of a Democrat-led House and Republican-led Senate reduces the likelihood of major anti-tobacco bills going to a vote. With this in mind, the PCA is endorsing Senator David Perdue so that he may continue advocating for premium cigars and preventing harmful legislation in the Senate from getting to the floor.
In regards to state elections, Republicans had gained approximately 100 seats across the board, but, most importantly, in Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Pennsylvania, and the New Hampshire Legislature flipped from Democrat to Republican control. These were important gains for Republicans and will likely be a positive for the future of premium cigars. On the other hand, many states have recently seen a reduction in tax revenue and will now be looking for products to target for increased tax rates. While the republican gains are anticipated to be favorable for the premium cigar industry, the PCA will need to work tirelessly to fight against increased tobacco taxes in states nationwide. Over the coming years, the Premium Cigar Association will be looking for new allies to work with in the state legislature.
Despite having two months to go until we know the outcome of the Georgia runoff elections or what exactly 117th congress will look like, PCA remains confident we are in a good place and will continue fighting for the rights of the Premium Cigar Industry.