- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 3, 2004

RICHMOND (AP) — A proposed $6 million annual tax credit for Philip Morris has been shelved for a year.

The House yesterday voted 51-47 to send the matter back to the Finance Committee and carry it over to the 2005 session.

The committee endorsed the bill two days ago, even though legislators are considering raising taxes or ending tax breaks for other industries to balance the state budget.

Delegate Robert D. Orrock, Spotsylvania County Republican, made the motion to send the bill back to committee. Delegate Harry R. “Bob” Purkey, Virginia Beach Republican, opposed the move, arguing that Philip Morris jobs have a huge impact on the state’s economy.

The measure is designed to help Virginia compete with North Carolina, which already offers a similar tax credit on cigarettes exported by Philip Morris. The Finance Committee had amended the bill to take effect in 2006.

A state senator accused a neurosurgeon yesterday of lying to a Senate committee about a bill that would require anesthesia for fetuses before abortions.

Sen. Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, Fairfax County Republican, said that Dr. Robert Rashti of Norfolk lied to the Senate Health and Education Committee earlier this month, leading to the defeat of the senator’s bill. Dr. Rashti is president of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Virginia.

He testified that Mr. Cuccinelli’s medical experts were relying on “junk science” by claiming that fetuses could feel the same pain as infants, necessitating the need for anesthesia before an abortion is performed.

Mr. Cuccinelli said Dr. Rashti admitted after the hearing that he hadn’t read one of the medical articles cited by witnesses.

But Dr. Rashti said yesterday he has since read the article and believes that Mr. Cuccinelli and his medical experts either do not understand what they have read or they misrepresented the facts.

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