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Kaine to propose cigarette tax increase

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Jessica Sabbath


Gov. Timothy M. Kaine plans to propose a cigarette sales tax increase to help close the state’s budget shortfall, Speaker of the House of Delegates William J. Howell confirmed Tuesday.

Kaine will recommend a 30-cent tax increase on a pack of cigarettes in his budget amendments, the Associated Press first reported earlier Tuesday. The current state tax is 30 cents per pack.

The Associated Press also reported Kaine’s budget amendments, which he is scheduled to present to the General Assembly’s money committees Wednesday morning, would include $400 million cuts each from public education and health care. He also plans to ask for a $500 million withdrawal from the state’s rainy-day fund and cut 1,500 state employees.

Howell and U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, R-7th, held a telephone news conference Tuesday afternoon to attack the tax increase proposal.

“What we have gathered is the governor is going to propose a hike in the tobacco tax, which is frankly nothing but an assault on jobs here in the greater Richmond area and throughout Virginia,” U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, R-7th told reporters.

Howell questioned the timing of the tax increase given the current recession, tobacco manufacturer Altria Group’s corporate relocation from New York to Richmond this year and its recent $350 million investment in a research facility in the city. “This is a job killer,” Howell said.


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