Friday, December 26, 2008

Tobacco taxes and production in the U.S.

The governor of Virginia, a democrat, proposed raising Virginia's tax on cigarettes from 30 cents to 60 cents. This would still be about half the national average of $1.12. The tobacco industry
and state republicans oppose this on the grounds that it would be unfair to smokers and an industry that employs many people in Virginia. I do not agree with this argument. To balance the budget either taxes have to be raised or services have to cut. Raising cigarette taxes is the lesser of two evils.

Kentucky has proposed raising its tax from 30 cents to one dollar.

Fourteen states in the U.S. produce tobacco, but 94% is concentrated in these 6. Here is their rank: 1) NC; 2) KY; 3) TN; 4) SC; 5) VA; 6) GA. In these 6 states, the tax rate averages only 33.5 cents. South Carolina has the lowest tax at 7 cents per pack of cigarettes. Bills to raise the tax were almost passed into law in 2008. Let's hope this happens in 2009. Otherwise other items will have to be taxed and more services will have to be cut.

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