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When states are faced with a budget deficit, the fiscally prudent solution is to tighten the budget and cut bureaucratic waste before increasing taxes on strapped citizens. Virginia is currently facing a $2 billion budget shortfall, which is due in part to over-spending when times were good. FreedomWorks is disappointed that Gov. Timothy Kaine has proposed a 100 percent increase in the state cigarette tax.
FreedomWorks opposes raising taxes, especially in an economic recession. Cigarette taxes are historically a failed public policy and do not bring in anticipated revenue as smokers either cut back, cross borders, or turn to the black market for their cigarettes.
Cigarette taxes are regressive, disproportionately hurting poor families’ budgets. Small business owners, the backbone of our economy, would also be devastated with a loss of a critical revenue stream.
FreedomWorks issued a call to action today to its members in Virginia, asking them to contact the General Assembly and Governor Kaine. FreedomWorks volunteers will deliver the message that this tax increase should be defeated, and the size of the bloated state budget should be reduced.
FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe commented:
“It is unfortunate that in tight budget times politicians resort to gimmicks to fill budget holes. These problems are often created by their inability to rein in spending during the good times. The Virginia General Assembly would best serve the citizens by rejecting all tax increases and instead look for ways to shrink government and cut spending to cover the budget deficit. Rejecting tax increases would send a strong message to Governor Kaine that as Virginians prepare to live on a budget, so should the government."