TORONTO, Feb. 26, 2014 /CNW/ - The Ontario Korean's Businessmen's
Association (OKBA), is concerned that recent tobacco taxes introduced
by the federal government will negatively impact the livelihood of
their 1500 members stores in Ontario. Further, the possibility of
additional new tobacco taxes in Ontario's spring budget will compound
the devastating effects on its member's steadily diminishing revenue.
"Our concern with the tobacco tax increase is the immediate effect it
has on our store owner's bottom line" said Mr. Cha. "Smokers don't stop
smoking overnight, and unfortunately, history has shown us that
increases in government taxes on legal tobacco immediately drive up the
amount of contraband tobacco being sold in our communities", he added.
"Everyone knows that the people who sell contraband tobacco do not
collect or remit taxes, nor do they restrict the sale of tobacco to
only adults like our store owners do."
Independent convenience store owners, including the hundreds of members
within the OKBA, have been battling the scourge of contraband tobacco
in Ontario for years. The OKBA has been pleased with government
initiatives on both the provincial and federal levels to finally deal
with the problem, but note that new tax increases have the potential to
wipe out any recent gains made against the illegal trade.
"Our members started telling us that over the last year they started
seeing some regular customers coming back into their stores, having
turned away from the illegal market; yet, now we fear new tax increases
may turn them away again as they source cheaper, untaxed products",
stated Cha. "We applaud governments initiatives against contraband
tobacco, however, we fear that history will repeat itself and more of
our members will be forced out of business as a result of an un-level
playing field when it comes to tobacco pricing", he added.
Since 2010, hundreds of independent business owners of the OKBA have
closed their stores as a result of shrinking margins, and competition
from the illegal black market. Given the overall reduction in smoking
by the adult population, Convenience Store owners have greatly
diversified the products and services they sell.
"Our store owners work hard, often 7 days a week and 14 hours a day."
claimed Cha. "It's disappointing when they see their already tiny
profits further eroded by an illegal black market run by organized
Founded in 1973, the OKBA is a not profit association representing 1500
independent business owners of Korean descent, in hundreds of
communities across Ontario.
SOURCE: Ontario Korean's Businessmen's Association
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