- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 28, 2002

Why is the first instinct of so many politicians to propose new taxes whenever there's a budgetary shortfall? How about cutting spending instead? That's what most ordinary people do when confronted with spending that's outpacing earnings. Of course, the government has the unique advantage of being able to forcibly extort ever more money to meet its "needs" while the average taxpayer has no choice but to cut back.
Virginia Gov. Mark Warner is one of those politicians who always puts the needs of government above those of the poor saps that have to earn the money he so freely likes to spend. In addition to pushing a legally dubious regional taxing authority referendum, Mr. Warner earlier this week also began touting higher "sin" taxes on alcohol and tobacco to finance a projected $200 million shortfall in the state's budget. "We've seen states all over the country look at cigarette taxes, and I don't think you can take it off the table," he said in an interview carried on WRVA radio in Richmond. "The legislature is going to have to look at this idea of so-called 'sin taxes,' cigarette and alcohol taxes. I think you're going to see some discussion there."
Alcohol and tobacco products are already heavily taxed in Virginia with the state holding a monopoly on all hard-liquor sales via state-run Alcohol Beverage and Control (ABC) outlets. And tobacco sales have been the object of punitive taxation in Virginia and nationally.
Meanwhile, the typical Virginia family pays a hefty annual state income tax, plus property taxes and local sales taxes. These come on top of federal taxes that, when combined, often amount to a third or even more of that family's gross income. Have Virginians got enough government yet? Or is it time to ease back a bit on the spigot?
Mr. Warner says he hasn't fully decided as yet "what specific option we ought to be looking at." How about keeping the mitts of government out of taxpayers' pockets for once and finding ways for the state to live within its means? That option, unfortunately, is probably off the table.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide