Raise the cigarette tax

Published 9:46 pm Tuesday, March 2, 2010

To the editor:

I cannot believe that the governor would not consider raising the cigarette tax, but would make big cuts in health and education.

Health care cuts would hurt the underprivileged and special-needs children the most.

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Raising the cigarette tax by $1 a pack could generate millions in new revenue annually to help close the state’s budget shortfall. Virginia’s cigarette tax is 30 cents per pack, which makes Virginia 49th in the nation. The national average is $1.34 per pack.

Also, raising the cigarette tax may help prevent young people from starting to smoke and encourage current smokers to quit — and save $1.4 billion in health care costs.

One would hope the generosity of the tobacco companies to the governor and the members of the House of Delegates and Senate would not unduly influence their thoughts concerning an increase on the tax on cigarettes.

Governor Kaine tried to raise the cigarette tax, but it was defeated in the House.

William M. Camp