Del. Patrick Hope, D-Arlington, is proposing to shore up Virginia’s Medicaid budget by raising taxes on cigarettes.
The bill would raise the tax on cigarettes from 30 cents to the national average of $1.45, and the tax on other tobacco products from 10 percent to 50 percent of the wholesale price.
Money would be directed to fund Medicaid waivers that allow certain people with disabilities to live in residential settings instead of state institutions, Medicaid reimbursement for physicians and hospitals and tobacco prevention programs in the state.
“Virginia’s Medicaid budget is on an unsustainable course,” Hope said. “This bill will not only sustain the program but it will put it on a pathway to slow the growth and save taxpayers money.”
Regardless, any proposal with the words “tax” and “increase” in close proximity is going to face uphill sledding in the Republican-controlled House of Delegates.