Kit Menkin's Leasing News

                   www.leasingnews.org  Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Accurate, fair and unbiased news for the equipment Leasing Industry

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Headlines

 

New Prez at The Funding Tree, California

 Thursday—Odds and Ends

  Are There Adequate Choices for Vendor Lessors?

   "Bankers Make May Pennies - But They Lose Dollars"

      Weak PC Outlook, Says HP

       California economy improving but at risk

        IT Execs See Security Driving Recovery

           Mineta to Ask for Big Changes at Amtrak

Gregory A. Lefebre Promoted to CEO at Rochester Equipment Leasing

 Michigan governor, lawmakers proposes 50-cent cigarette tax increase

 

### Denotes Press Release

 

 

 

New Prez at The Funding Tree, California

 

Kendra Bernal has resigned as president, after being arrested for alleged violations

of probation.  It appears Bruce Peterik is the new president.

 

Leasing News has contacted him with the hopes of learning more about

his background, the aims of The Funding Tree, which is still not

licensed by the Department of Corporations, and still has a “cease and

desist order” from conducting any business.

 

Leasing News has also asked to learn Mr. Peterik’s experience in leasing and finance.

 

Should you wish to contact him directly regarding any un-funded lease, return of

advance rental, or to learn any information directly from him, he invites you to

contact him as:

 

President

The Funding Tree, Inc

T: 909.776.2567<br>

F: 909.776.2568<br>

bpeterik@earthlink.net

 

(Readers not familiar with this company may go to www.leasingnews.org

and to Bulletin Board Complaints and/or Top Stories ( bottom of the front

page.)

 

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Thursday----Odds and End

 

 

Have the AMEX Healthcare Boys defected to GE Healthcare?

 

Any confirmation or denial????

 

 

------

            Leasebank 

 

                Name = Stacey Dickson

               Address = 2563 Whittaker Drive

                  City = Burlington

                 Email = sdickson@cogeco.ca

 

              Comments = I am responding to the comment of does anyone know anything about  Leasebank. I do. It is located in Burlington Ontario, specializing in the small ticket leasing.  The main number is 905-639-3833

 

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May Housing Starts---By Regions

 

Here is an Excel breakdown of the May US Housing starts by region.

 

http://www.leasingnews.org/docs/MayUshs.htm

 

 

New Funding, Education, Networking Forum

 

Friday, July 26, 2002

 

PHILADELPHIA, PA

Radisson Plaza—Warwick Hotel

1701 Locus Street

Philadelphia, PA 19103

215-735-6000

 

To view schedule: http://www.uael.org/indexlow.asp

 

For more information on any UAEL event, please contact Joanie Dalton

at the UAEL office, (510) 444-9235, ext. 2

 

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Needs Two ATM for Supermarket

 

                  Name: Sandy

                 Phone = 626-814-9788

                   Fax = 626-814-9866

              Comments = Need two ATM at my supermarket, please contact me ASAP. Thanks

               

 (This was all the information in the contact form.  Leasing News does not refer

or recommend funders, brokers, or vendors---but if you are interested in this

lead, give Sandy a call. Editor)

 

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Are There Adequate Choices for Vendor Lessors?

 

 

Most of my leasing career has been spent in the vendor

area.  Industry consolidation has taken its toll on

the participants in this sector of equipment leasing.

I am starting to wonder if there are adequate choices

available to equipment vendors who seek partnerships

with vendor lessors. 

 

The old Tri-Continental became Bell Atlantic, which

was sold to Dial/Greyhound which became Finova which

was later sold to Green Tree and then sold to Conseco

and now is a part of Wells Fargo.

 

 All the predecessors are either gone, or out of the vendor business.  Bank

of Boston/Fleet/Sanwa/Lake have become one. Eaton was

bought by AT&T which spun off and became AT&T Capital

which was bought by Newcourt and later sold to CIT

which was sold to Tyco and now is either being sold or

IPO'ed - again!  Citigroup has bought EAB/Fidelity,

Copelco, Associates.  GE has bought anything and

everything they can get their hands on - causing the

disappearance of Leaseamerica, Third Century, Colonial

Pacific, Melon USL, Heller, parts of Comdisco, etc.,

etc.

 

Who's left?  If Dell doesn't like the condition of

Tyco/CIT after the spin-off who can they choose as a

potential replacement partner?  GE, DeLage Landen,

Citigroup - too few players to make for good healthy

competition. 

 

Might the time be right and the market ripe for a

strong foreign competitor to enter the US vendor

market?  Orix, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank? How about

Richard Branson - Virgin Leasing!!

 

What do others think?  Your thoughts?

 

Trevor Shaw

Leasing Landscape Assessor

I need a job! <unemployed_in_illinois@yahoo.com>

 

 

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“Bankers Make May Pennies – But They Lose Dollars”

 

 

(In Jeff Taylor’s most recent website posting, he has a most interesting report

on the most recent joint leasing conference that I thought would follow-up

with EFJ’s Ron Caruso’s remarks on the leasing industry. Editor)

 

http://executivecaliber.ws/sys-tmpl/uaeleaelspringconference2002/

 

UAEL-EAEL Spring Conference 2002

 

ExecutiveCaliber (Lease Training by Jeffrey Taylor)

Copyright (c) 2001-2002 All rights reserved

 

email: JTaylor@executivecaliber.ws

 

 

Three times in the past eight years, the United Association of Equipment Lessors (UAEL) and the Eastern Association of Equipment Lessors (EAEL) have jointly held a Spring Meeting. This year 271 leasing professionals (62 first-timers) descended on Las Vegas.

 

The opening roundtable session focused on where the market has been and where it is going? Due to the difficult economy, fraud is up and credit ap only deals are being driven down to the $75K level from a high of $150K. There are fewer funding sources, credit is tight and deals are tougher to fund. Everyone says the same thing; there is a flight to quality. Unfortunately, since there are not enough quality deals to go around, there ultimately has to be a further shake-out in our industry.

 

Another hot topic was credit scoring. Depending upon what seat you occupy, you either love it or hate it. Some professionals believe that credit scoring failed the industry and allowed us to do deals that never should have seen the light of day. Others believe that credit scoring takes away too much of the “gut” feeling and does not take into account observations seen outside of the balance sheet or credit bureau, like potential, research, market share, intangibles, etc.

 

A lot of the seasoned professionals said that younger people are having the most difficulty since they are experiencing tough markets for the first time in their short careers. Many believe that training is the answer. Note: That may be true but getting senior management to part with dollars is still a Herculean task

 

Competition is rising, especially from independent and community banks. Instead of funding brokers and leasing companies, they are going direct to their customer. This is a very good example of disintermediation which has hit the airline (travel agents), real estate (real estate brokers), and Wall Street (Investment Bankers).

 

To shore up credits, a lot of leasing pros are pushing commitment fees (to prevent shopping the deal), deposits and advanced rentals. Many are concerned that they cannot get the business by asking for large sums up front. They say that their clients will go elsewhere for the business. Note: I’m fascinated by this argument. When someone pushes me to lower my price and tells me that they can get a lower price from a competitor, I simply respond, “Then why are you talking to me?”

 

One of the best quotes I heard during the conference, “Bankers Make May Pennies – But They Lose Dollars”.

 

Another issue that surfaced focused on the administrative side of our business. Many are concerned about processing property tax, sales tax, state income tax and UCC filings properly. There seems to be a lot of pressure on the back office to keep costs down while processing inordinate amounts of volume. In order to get economies of scale, many agree that we have to do a better job on rejecting the bad stuff before it gets to far down the pipeline.

 

Other comments heard at the conference:

 

Broker commissions are going to drop

 

Car residuals are going to drop further

 

Funding sources need to communicate their needs better to originators

 

Vendor fraud is climbing and people keep it quiet to minimize embarrassment

 

Professional crooks will always win

 

Vendors tend to oversell – clients tend to overbuy

 

 

 

Additional lectures included Business Plans, Collection Management, Securitization, Fraud Prevention, Technology and other current topics.

 

One topic, which I wish I could have heard more of Note: They ran 3 speeches simultaneously and I try to see at least 10-20 minutes of each speech was entitled Smart Moves by Barbara Spector. She said that it is possible to test your best people, determine their successful attributes and create eye-appealing ads to attract the people most likely to succeed. Then, during the interview process, you can test the potential hire against the internal standard, correlate the results and determine the probability of success. Note: Would like to see empirical evidence of this approach with a leasing company. Maybe it’s my ego, but I think one Jeffrey Taylor is enough for the lease training world.

 

Mark down on your calendar – UAEL Fall Meeting in San Diego Oct 3-5. I also plan to sit for the Certified Leasing Professional (CLP) exam and encourage others to follow suit.

 

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Weak PC Outlook, Says HP

 

Michael Capellas, president of Hewlett-Packard Co., said sales of computer-related products probably would not rebound this year and cited weak demand.

 

"Spending continues to be soft," Capellas said in a speech at a conference in Singapore. "We do see some pockets of improved activity around the world, but by and large we don't see anything to indicate there will be a sustained, strong recovery this year."

 

Sales of personal computers fell in 2001 for the first time since 1986, and chip sales declined by a third, making it the worst year ever for the semiconductor industry.

 

(courtesy of EFJ.com )

 

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California economy improving but at risk

 

BUDGET AND HOUSING COULD HURT RECOVERY

By Jennifer Bjorhus

San Jose Mercury News

 

Northern California's recession is waning, but the state's huge budget shortfall and sky-high housing prices could wreak havoc with the recovery, according to the UCLA Anderson Forecast being released yesterday.

 

In a tepid midyear report on California -- ``Recession Ending in the North, Expansion Proceeding in South'' -- UCLA economist Tom Lieser sees rosy glints in the data emerging from the California economy. Lieser notes a slowing rate of decline in the state's high-tech exports, better global sales of semiconductors in March and April and an improvement in new orders of semiconductor equipment in April.

 

``With an improvement in the national economy already under way, California should begin to see sustained income gains, along with increased hiring, by the third quarter,'' Lieser says in his report.

 

Those aren't blockbuster gains he's predicting. The state's annual increase in employment will only edge up to just a 0.2 percent growth for the year and unemployment will remain at around 6.4 percent, the highest it has been since 1996. Locally, the unemployment rate was 7.1 percent in May.

 

The report also sees an emerging real estate bubble across the country that could both spell danger for over-extended homeowners and dampen long-term economic growth.

 

Positives welcome

 

Still, any positive glints are welcome in the Bay Area, which has been slogging through one of its worst technology downturns since the Internet bubble burst in 2000. Tech companies such as Hewlett-Packard and Intel continue to struggle, and the UCLA report is rosier than many assessments by information technology experts, who do not see a real tech recovery until next year. Corporate spending on information technology remains a huge problem, they say.

 

AMD, the Sunnyvale maker of microprocessors and flash memory devices for computers and devices like cell phones and networking, ratcheted back its sales projections Tuesday. Weaker than expected demand for personal computers in Europe and North America will cause a ``substantial operating loss'' in the second quarter, the company said. Earlier this month chip giant Intel surprised analysts by lowering its sales forecasts.

 

Such warnings are part of the flurry of mixed signals economists are struggling to interpret as they look for signposts of an economic recovery. Richard Carlson, an economist and partner at Spectrum Economics in Mountain View, said he thinks the new UCLA report is ``a little too optimistic.''

 

R. Sean Randolph, president of the Bay Area Economic Forum, agrees signals are mixed, but said he too sees a number of more positive indicators. His group issued a similarly hopeful report about the local economy a few weeks ago, noting a slowing pace of job loss in the Bay Area and a survey of business executives that showed growing confidence in the economy.

 

Trouble spots remain.

 

Budget woes

 

California's budget problems could spell fewer government jobs, particularly for school teachers. Following declining tax revenues, California faces a $23.6 billion budget shortfall this year.

 

Further, a deflation in real estate could pack an immediate wallop to housing-related businesses and put limits on the state's long-term expansion, said Lieser. Lieser said he sees the real estate bubble - - still a subject of hot debate among industry experts -- as less of a threat to the state's economic recovery than an ``impediment to long-term growth'' by pricing the middle-class out of the market or over-burdening people with debt.

 

``Something has to give, and it could crash or it could work itself out slowly,'' Lieser said in an interview.

 

In his accompanying national economic report ``Bubble Trouble?'' fellow UCLA economist Edward Leamer argues that housing prices, driven in part by cheap mortgages, are way out of line with economic realities -- particularly in the Bay Area. Despite the downturn and the fact that Silicon Valley has shed jobs by the thousands, prices remain at levels similar to when incomes were rocketing. In Santa Clara County, where unemployment rates have climbed steadily, the median price of a single- family home that closed in April was $500,000, according to Dataquick Information Systems.

 

Leamer said the bubble could deflate if the Fed increases short-term interest rates.

 

``Bottom line: Bay Area home buyers are placing a big bet on an early tech bounce back that will support rental increase similar to 1998 and 1999. That's a risky bet. I hope they are otherwise diversified,'' Leamer cautions in his report.

 

Spectrum Economics' Carlson called the real estate bubble issue ``overplayed.''

 

 (End of last year they forecast “...will turn around by mid-2002. http://www.uclaforecast.com/home.asp   editor ).

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IT Execs See Security Driving Recovery

 

By Erin Joyce   Internet.com News

 

A majority of New York-area information technology executives believe the region's economy is still in recession but think security and disaster recovery products will help drive the IT industry's recovery, according to a new survey by The New York Times Job Market.

 

In a recent poll of more than 160 IT chief executives and senior level managers conducted for the newspaper's recruiting and job listings division, 80 percent said the recession is not over for the metropolitan region. That includes Westchester County, northern New Jersey, parts of Connecticut and Long Island.

 

As to when they expect to see growth return, the results were mixed: Forty-two percent said they don't expect any growth in the sector until 2003.

 

But when asked to assess the strengths of the region's IT industry, 61 percent pointed to security and disaster recovery products as extremely or very strong right now. The next two responses were roughly split: 49 percent pointed to database management as a strength and 48 percent cited broadband communications.

 

Of these segments, 47 percent of the executives polled said only security and disaster recovery products and services would help drive the metro IT industry expansion once the economy starts to recover. Twenty-seven percent said broadband communications would be a factor. Only 38 percent of the group saw the region's legacy of database management giving way to wireless communications as a future growth driver, while 24 percent cited application service providers.

 

In a clear reflection of the number of IT skilled employees that are now looking for the work as a result of the technology recession, 80 percent of the executives named the vast talent pool of the region as its strongest underpinnings.

 

The next-highest response was the region's entrepreneurial culture (72 percent), and intellectual capital (65 percent). Close to half of the survey pool (49 percent) said venture capital was a strong base in the region, while 46 percent named research and development as a factor.

 

Those looking to hire in the second half of the year said the most desirable skills they are looking for were software programmers (42 percent), followed by project managers (35 percent), client/server developers (27 percent) and database administrators (25 percent).

 

As a result of the attitudes about the region's talent pool, close to three-quarters, or 73 percent of the IT executives surveyed said they would not look elsewhere in recruiting talent in the second half of this year -- but were equally split on whether they preferred hiring senior-level or junior-level talent.

 

Of the 50 percent in the survey that preferred to hire junior-level IT employees, 75 percent said so because they believe junior-level employees tend to be trainable in other areas. Fifty-eight percent saw the younger set as more cost- effective. But only 36 percent of the younger-leaning attitudes saw junior-level IT employees as more loyal than senior staff.

 

Because of the rapidly changing nature of the IT industry, 94 percent of the executives cited an ability to work as a team member as the most desirable trait in IT workers (beyond their tech skills). Eight-five percent of the executives cited both analytical thinking and communication skills as most desirable, followed by 81 percent who wanted to see creative thinking.

 

If the government is trying to help spur capital investments, few executives in the poll noticed. Only 33 percent said government efforts were helping, and 22 percent said government tax incentives were helping the metro region's IT industry.

 

As to whether the executives think Silicon Alley as a term or region is dead, 79 percent of the survey said no. And although most think the New York IT region is weak right now, there was no majority on strength among other high-tech regions in the country either.

 

When asked which IT region of the country was considered extremely or very strong, 40 percent said Silicon Valley, 34 percent said Massachusetts, 34 percent pointed to Virginia and 33 percent cited Silicon Alley. Texas came in last at 28 percent of the tallies. Overall 43 percent said they felt the US tech industry was strong right now.

 

Jennifer Lacy, director of job market research for The New York Times, said this was the first survey the division did about the IT industry's views on the job market. She expected to revisit the survey in six months to compare the results.

 

The results came from chief executives, vice presidents of technology, information or sales, chief information officers and chief technology offers. She said 82 percent of the companies derived their revenues from other businesses and that 85 percent of the companies are publicly held.

 

New York-based Beta Research Corporation conducted the survey for The New York Times Job Market. More detailed results about the survey can be found on the Job Market Web site at NYTimes.com/jobmarket.

 

 

 

 

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Mineta to Ask for Big Changes at Amtrak

 

Washington Post Staff Writer

 

The Bush administration today will unveil its long-awaited Amtrak plan, which would require states to pay an increasing share of passenger train costs, transfer the Boston- Washington Northeast Corridor to an unspecified "public partnership," and contract out some jobs now held by rail union workers.

 

But Federal Railroad Administrator Alan Rutter is expected to tell a Senate subcommittee today that the administration is still considering what to do about a more immediate problem -- the possibility that Amtrak will begin shutting down as early as next week because it is running out of cash.

 

The administration's long-range plan, actually a set of principles with few specifics, was to be announced in a hastily arranged speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce this morning by Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, (former Mayor of San Jose-the airport is named after him), according to sources in the administration and Congress.

 

The ideas advanced by Mineta have fallen flat in Congress before, and are unlikely to be accepted now even though they inevitably will affect the debate on Amtrak's future. But a senior administration official said the plan is intended to begin a long-term debate about how to provide essential rail passenger service while making fundamental changes in Amtrak's business model.

 

Amtrak was formed on May 1, 1971, on the assumption that it would turn a profit after two years, but it has never been profitable. Instead, Congress has given Amtrak just enough money to struggle along year after year while ordering the corporation to operate trains that had no chance of covering their costs. Congress in 1997 ordered the corporation to become "operationally self-sufficient" by 2004, but it became clear last year that wasn't possible.

 

Mineta had hoped to delay disclosure of the Amtrak plan until after the immediate crisis had passed, but his hand was forced by the insistence of Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on transportation, on holding a hearing on the Amtrak problem this afternoon.

 

Rutter even asked new Amtrak President David Gunn to suggest that Murray delay the hearing. But Gunn, who raised the possibility of a near-term shutdown just three weeks after taking the job, refused.

 

Mineta will suggest that Amtrak's final form could be decided by a commission similar to the one that decided which military bases would be closed. He also said he would ask the National Governors Association to form a committee to work with Amtrak on partnerships with the states.

 

Gunn will offer testimony countering the administration's basic assumption that the Amtrak business model cannot work.

 

"No amount of councils, commissions, study groups or symposiums will find a painless answer to what to do about Amtrak," Gunn's remarks say. "Recent proposals to privatize or restructure are exercises in problem avoidance. The federal government must decide what role rail should play just as it does with highways and air, even waterways."

 

The Mineta speech will present five basic principles for change:

 

• Amtrak would be put on a sound economic system by eliminating federal operating subsidies for passenger trains and dropping services that do not cover their operating costs through either revenue or state subsidies. Although he mentioned few specifics, Mineta was signaling that some services should be abandoned unless states decide to subsidize their operation, administration sources said.

 

• Amtrak would be made a pure operating company rather than an owner of track.

 

• Some routes would be allowed to be operated under franchises by a non- Amtrak entity. In addition, other services, including reservations, food service and equipment maintenance, would be contracted out. A senior official said the administration would work with unions and freight railroads to solve any concerns. "This is not a declaration of war on the unions," the official said.

 

• The federal government would continue to pay some capital costs of passenger train service but would provide no operating subsidies. States would be expected to cover those costs under new "partnerships." New service, including new high-speed service, would be the responsibility of states or combinations of states.

 

• A partnership would be created to own the Boston-Washington "Northeast Corridor." This would be a long-term transition, with states and the users of the corridor -- commuter lines and freight railroads -- having time to work out a solution. The Northeast Corridor is the only significant track owned by Amtrak, with most other trains operating over the tracks of freight railroads.

 

The Mineta speech says Amtrak's problems will not be resolved within a year, and that he doubts there is time to pass a five-year Amtrak authorization this year. But he will say that even a one-year authorization must be accompanied by "significant reforms consistent with the principles I have outlined," or the administration will oppose any authorization larger that its $521 million budget proposal.

 

Amtrak has requested $1.2 billion. Both Amtrak and Department of Transportation Inspector General Kenneth M. Mead have said $521 million would allow Amtrak to do little more than shut down.

 

Meanwhile, there is still the threat of a short-term shutdown. Gunn has said that unless Amtrak can get $200 million through a loan or or some other method by the end of the month, he will begin an orderly shutdown process in July.

 

The Mineta speech will make only passing mention of the crisis, and sources said Rutter will not make any specific recommendations. The Federal Railroad Administration is considering a request from Amtrak for a loan guarantee, sources said, but is having problems resolving unspecified legal

 

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Gregory A. Lefebre Promoted to CEO at Rochester Equipment Leasing

 

 

            Rochester Equipment Leasing, Inc. has announced that it has promoted Gregory A. Lefebre to CEO.  Gregory is a majority shareholder in the firm and will continue to represent his former position as National Sales Manager.  In December Gregory will mark the completion of his tenth year in the equipment leasing industry.

 

            REL, Inc. specializes in equipment financing for small to medium sized businesses in the Rochester area and national vendor leasing programs for distributors and manufacturers of diverse types of capital equipment.  Besides leasing, Rochester Equipment Leasing also offers Working Capital Loans for Medical Professionals.

 

            Contact: Michelle Ireland at:                                                                                             (800) 338-3430 x301

 

36 West Main Street, Suite 777 Rochester, NY 14614

www.RochesterLeasing.com                                                    www.e1Lease.com

 

### ############################################ ##################

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Michigan governor, lawmakers proposes 50-cent cigarette tax increase amid budget crunch

 

By Associated Press,

 

LANSING, Mich. (AP) Gov. John Engler and legislative leaders on Wednesday proposed increasing the cigarette tax by 50 cents.

 

The increase would raise the state tax on cigarettes from 75 cents to $1.25 per pack, making it the nation's third-highest, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The per-pack tax is $1.50 in New York, and $1.42 in Washington state.

 

It also would affect other tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco.

 

The tax hike is expected to generate $107 million a year for the school aid fund and $154 million for other parts of the budget, said Engler spokeswoman Susan Shafer.

 

The additional revenue would help lawmakers balance the $350 million general fund shortfall for the upcoming budget year.

 

House leaders were considering taking up the cigarette tax increase proposal.

 

A comparison of per-pack state taxes on cigarettes.

 

 

1. Washington, $1.425

2. New York, $1.50

3. Arkansas, $1

3. Maine, $1

3. Rhode Island, $1

3. Hawaii, $1

7. California, 87 cents

8. New Jersey, 80 cents

9. Wisconsin, 77 cents

10. Massachusetts, 76 cents

11. Michigan, 75 cents (to go to $1.25)

12. Oregon, 68 cents

13. Maryland, 66 cents

14. District of Columbia, 65 cents

15. Arizona, 58 cents

15. Illinois, 58 cents

17. New Hampshire, 52 cents

18. Utah, 51.5 cents

19. Connecticut, 50 cents

20. Minnesota, 48 cents

21. North Dakota, 44 cents

21. Vermont, 44 cents

23. Texas, 41 cents

24. Iowa, 36 cents

25. Nevada, 35 cents

26. Arkansas, 34 cents

26. Nebraska, 34 cents

28. Florida, 33.9 cents

29. South Dakota, 33 cents

30. Pennsylvania, 31 cents

31. Idaho, 28 cents

32. Delaware, 24 cents

32. Kansas, 24 cents

32. Louisiana, 24 cents

32. Ohio, 24 cents

36. Oklahoma, 23 cents

37. New Mexico, 21 cents

38. Colorado, 20 cents

39. Mississippi, 18 cents

39. Montana, 18 cents

41. Missouri, 17 cents

41. West Virginia, 17 cents

43. Alabama, 16.5 cents

44. Indiana, 15.5 cents

45. Tennessee, 13 cents

46. Georgia, 12 cents

46. Wyoming, 12 cents

48. South Carolina, 7 cents

49. North Carolina, 5 cents

50. Kentucky, 3 cents

51. Virginia, 2.5 cents

The federal per-pack tax is 39 cents.

 

SOURCE: American Cancer Society

 

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