";} /*B6D1B1EE*/ ?>
Virginia Pilot: Va. Delegate: Raise Cigarette Tax, Lower Car Tax Print


Created:  Tuesday, January 17, 2012


When Del. Patrick Hope brought a bill before the House of Delegates last year seeking to raise Virginia's cigarette tax, it got "about 15 seconds" of consideration, he said today.

So this year he's trying again, but with a different strategy.

The Arlington Democrat's bill, HB160, (full text) would raise the cigarette tax from 30 cents to $1.45 per pack. But instead of directing the proceeds toward the Medicaid program, as last year's measure did, the current bill would send 92 percent of the new revenue to localities to provide additional relief from the local car tax.

"That's real money in the pockets of Virginians," Hope said at a press conference.

Surrounded by representatives of the American Cancer Society and allied groups that support the measure, Hope said it would raise more than $400 million a year and would cut the tax on a $15,000 car by more than half, from $183.75 to $88.20.

He said the measure would also save lives by discouraging smoking, particularly among young people.

Virginia's current cigarette tax is the second-lowest in the nation.

The bill faces long odds in the current political climate. Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell and the Republican-controlled General Assembly have consistently opposed any new taxes.