Sin Tax Could Increase

By: Donald Robinson
By: Donald Robinson

Virginia is facing its worst state revenue decline on record. Gov. Mark Warner is looking for ways to fix it, including a possible increase to the "so called" sin taxes on alcohol and cigarettes.

"It would be up to the people to decide whether or not they want to go out and pay those taxes," said Shane Kouchinsky of the Byers St. Bistro. "We are still going to have the business coming into our place."

Kouchinsky manages the Byers St. Bistro in Staunton. He says if there's a tax increase it would be passed to consumers.

"Sure we want to make a profit for the restaurant," said Kouchinsky. "That's a goal for any company, but hopefully if we had to make a price increase it would be as minimum as possible."

Experts say alcohol and tobacco use is to blame for the increase in health care costs and deaths in recent years. And even some people who use the products say the state should not have to foot those bills.

"In all fairness, I would believe the rise in health care and the increase in alcohol deaths should be paid for by the consumers of alcohol and tobacco," said Travis Fitzgerald.

But, there are others who think smokers and drinkers are being picked on.

"Well I think if you are to have an increase in taxes which everybody can understand," said Chip Glover, "You’re going to have to have it across the board. You are going to have to increase property taxes and income taxes."

Gov. Warner is not pushing for the increase right now; he's only considering it.

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