BOULDER — The Cigarette Store Corp., a family-owned company that owns brands such as Smoker Friendly and Gasamat, is relocating one of its businesses due to changes in Colorado’s tax law.
Payless Cigars & Pipes is being moved to New Port Richey, near Tampa in Florida.
Mary Szarmach, senior vice president for governmental and external affairs, told BizWest the reason the business was being relocated was because Gov. John Hickenlooper vetoed a bipartisan bill that would give the company a rebate on some of the excise taxes it pays.
A similar bill was initially passed three years ago, but had a sunset clause. A new bill, Senate Bill 18-179, was introduced this year to continue the tax rebates for selling products to out-of-state customers — rebates that other industries such as alcohol, beer and fuel get — without a sunset clause. With its vetoing, Szarmach said the company was forced to relocate Payless to a location where it had friendlier tax laws. Ultimately, of the nine employees Payless had, only three were able to relocate to Florida, and six were let go. New Port Richey was selected as the new location because that area is the first port for premium cigars.
Szarmach said The Cigarette Store Corp.’s other businesses will remain in Boulder, but the fact that the bill was vetoed is a disappointment.
“It was a hugely supported bipartisan bill,” she said. “That’s why it’s frustrating, for him to look at all the legislators saying it’s a good bill and not pass it.”