For Immediate Release - October 17, 2013

DOR Commissioner Convenes Special Tobacco Commission

Panel to address black market tobacco trade and loss of state revenue

(Boston, MA) – Massachusetts Revenue Commissioner Amy Pitter today announced that a nine member special commission charged with studying the economic impact of the illegal distribution of cigarettes and tobacco products in the Commonwealth will hold its first meeting on Monday, October 21, 2013.

The panel was created by legislation in the FY2014 budget Section 182 to determine the magnitude of the black market tobacco trade and recommend legislation, enforcement and penalties to strengthen tobacco excise and sales tax collections.

“Tobacco smuggling is a growing problem that we share with many states,” said Commissioner Pitter who serves as chair of the commission. “We know that it takes many forms, at the local, state and international levels. This commission has a knowledgeable and diverse group of stakeholders, and the time is right to work together to better understand the problem, put a price tag on what it means in terms of lost revenue and identify the best ways to stop smuggling.”

Pitter said the commission will look at how other states combat counterfeit tax stamps and underground distribution rings.  It will also hear how tobacco manufacturers are trying to determine the extent of the illegal tobacco trade.

Under the law, the Commission must report on its findings and recommendations and submit draft legislation by March 1, 2014.

Members of the Commission include:
Captain Robert IrwinMassachusetts State Police, Governor Appointee
David Sullivan   General Counsel, Executive Office of Administration & Finance
Matthew SchrumpfAssistant Attorney General, Attorney General Appointee
Al GordonDeputy Treasurer for Policy, State Treasurer Appointee
Representative Brian MannalHouse of Representatives Appointee
Senator Michael RodriquesState Senate Appointee
Paul CaronExecutive Director, Northeast Association of Wholesale Distributors
Stephen RyanExecutive Director, New England Convenience Store Association