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Monday, June 3, 2013
The Virginia Wholesalers and Distributors Association is the statewide business trade group that represents the interests of corporations and individuals involved in the manufacturing, sales and distribution of convenience and grocery store products.
Salem City Council’s vote to increase the city’s cigarette tax to $4.50 a carton is another example of discriminatory fiscal policy. If Salem’s council feels the city needs more revenue for general government operations, it needs to have all citizens — not a select few — share equally in that expense.
From a tax policy standpoint, many economic resources define a stable revenue source as one that is “broad based, equitable and not narrowly targeted at one specific type of economic activity.”
Cigarette taxes are horizontally inequitable because within income groups, only some — i.e., smokers — are required to pay a tax that funds general government services. They are vertically inequitable — or regressive — because they place a much higher burden on low-income smokers than they do on high-income smokers.
A number of Salem merchants spoke against the increase. It’s a shame council voted to increase this tax by 200 percent.
Executive Vice President Virginia Wholesalers and Distributors Association
Editor’s note: Council approved the increase on a first reading. If it passes after a second reading June 24, it will take effect July 1.
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