Hav-A-Tampa is a division of Altaic USA Inc., which filed a required notice with the state of Florida that it will shut down its factory at 3901 Riga Blvd. in Tampa and begin the layoffs on Aug. 24.
Some non-manufacturing functions will move to another facility in Brandon, but none of the affected employees will be relocated to that facility, the company said in its notice.
Rick McKenzie, the company’s vice president of human resources, says business has been hurt by rising taxes. A new federal tobacco tax went into effect in April and will help pay for a health insurance program for low-income children.
Congressional Candidate Eddie Adams Jr. gave this statement regarding the closing “There are no good taxes. This is the primary result of taxation on tobacco. Tobacco has been determined to be a legal product, but Federal government and the state government see this as an easy opportunity to generate money for the Federal and State government. The more you tax a product or industry the less that product is going to sale. So now we have Hav A Tampa laying off 500 people that will be looking to the government for handouts. All because the Federal and State government thought this would be a great way to generate money.”
Congresswoman Kathy Castor’s office did not return our phone call about the plant closing. Castor has supported federal legislation (HR-1256) that increased taxes on Tobacco products.
The company’s Web site says Hav-A-Tampa cigars were originally trademarked in 1902.
The company operates other production facilities in the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
In addition to Hav-A-Tampa, Altadis hand-made cigar brands include H. Upmann, Playboy, Dutch Masters, Muriel, Phillies and Romeo y Julieta.
On the Web: HAV A TAMPA