Vice Squad
Sunday, December 28, 2003
Virginia's Cigarette Tax

New York State imposes a tax on cigarettes of $1.50 per pack; New York City imposes an additional tax of $1.50 per pack. How much tax does the state of Virginia impose? Amazingly, 2.5 cents per pack. (Maybe it is the high taxes that are amazing, but Massachusetts has a tax of $1.51, and New Jersey a tax of $1.50 per pack: the Virginia cigarette tax is the lowest among the states.)

An article in the Baltimore Sun on December 26 indicates that Virginia is likely to raise its tax this year. (Apologies for continued non-provision of links -- the situation should improve when Vice Squad returns to Chicago in the near future, if all goes well.) The governor has proposed a state tax of 25 cents per pack, with localities permitted to add up to 50 cents per pack onto that. But tobacco interests are well-represented in Virginia, to say the least -- the world's largest cigarette factory is the Philip Morris plant in Richmond -- so the governor's proposal might not become law. Facing more than $1 billion in red ink, however, the demands of the Virginia state treasury probably will make some inroads on that 2.5 cents per pack tax.

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