Virginia Delegate Patrick A. Hope of Alexandria recently introduced legislation, House Bill 160, to significantly increase the Virginia excise taxes currently imposed on cigarettes and other tobacco products. Specifically, Hope’s proposed legislation would raise the excise tax on cigarettes to $1.45 per pack, an increase of $1.15 over the current Virginia tax rate. In addition, the excise tax on other tobacco products would increase from its current rate of 10% of the wholesale price to 50%.
According to Del. Hope’s website, the revenue derived from these excise tax increases would total approximately $288 million and be used to:
- fund tobacco cessation and prevention programs in Virginia (approximately $23 million); and
- provide additional car tax relief ($265 million).
Given Republicans’ overwhelming majority in the House of Delegates, the ability of Del. Hope, a Democrat, to gather enough support to push this legislation through the House remains to be seen. However, Del. Hope is attempting to gain support for the tax hikes by claiming that this legislation “will cut in half the car tax at the expense of an out-dated policy that is one of [the] most significant public health threats we face.”
The Troutman Sanders Tobacco practice will continue to monitor the progress of HB160 and post any developments
Contributor: Craig Elkins