The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Friday, December 19, 2008
By JOEL TURNER - Staff Writer
Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell said he is disappointed that Gov. Tim Kaine has proposed doubling the state cigarette tax from 30 cents to 60 cents per pack as part of his plan to make up a $2.9 billion shortfall in state revenues.
"You should not raise taxes in a recession, and you cannot tax your way to prosperity," he said.
McDonnell, a Republican who is running for governor, said that Kaine's proposal to increase the cigarette tax "would potentially threaten" Virginia's tobacco's industry.
He said the proposal would also increase "the tax burden on many Virginia citizens and small businesses, when they can least afford it."
Other Republicans in the General Assembly also criticized, Kaine, a Democrat, for proposing to raise the cigarette tax.
Several Republicans have indicated they will make the cigarette tax a partisan issue in the fight over the budget in the 2009 session.
McDonnell said the state must look for ways to save money and deliver services more efficiently.
"Spending in Richmond has increased significantly. The budget has doubled over the past 10 years," he said.
"With this downturn in the economy comes the opportunity to look for efficiencies in government and find the best ways to deliver quality governmental services at a reduced cost to taxpayers," McDonnell said.
McDonnell said Kaine and the General Assembly must work together to solve the budget deficits in a "responsible and taxpayer friendly manner."