Yesterday Del. Jackson Miller (R-Prince William) gave a rousing speech in which he opposed Virginia being used to enforce New York’s excessive cigarette tax. [read_more]
The bill was HB 1807. It lowers the felony threshold for possession with intent to distribute tax-paid cigarettes from 500 cartons to 200 cartons and creates a criminal offense and civil penalties for purchasing cigarettes using a forged business license or a forged or invalid Virginia sales and use tax exemption certificate.[read_more]
Pressure for the bill came from New York City and Mayor de Blasio because they have a tax rate on cigarettes that are 14.5 times higher than Virginia’s. To bypass the taxes, people buy cigarettes from out of state and sell them in New York City. Instead of lowering the tax rate, New York City is pressuring Virginia to do the police work for them.
This pressure outraged Del. Miller. He likened this pressure to the pressure New York exercised to get Virginia to pass one gun a month laws.
He grew up with cigarettes and his father died from them, but he didn’t let that get in the way of his opposition to the bill declaring, “You know what I hate more than cigarettes? excessive and exploitive taxation.”
“We shouldn’t be bending to the will of Mayor Bloomberg and today we shouldn’t be bending to the will of Mayor de Blasio.”
He even cited the problem that cigarettes were in one of the worst incidents of 2014. “One of the biggest national incidents that happened in 2014 was the case of
Eric Garner. We do know that Mayor de Blasio was using his police officers to go after people selling onesies and twosomes because they weren’t paying the high tax rates. That’s why Eric Garner was arrested.”
Referring to George Washington he put things in perspective. “That man (George Washington) took a continental army and a bunch of rag tag militias and fought the worlds super power over a fight that started over excessive and exploitive taxation and he won.”
He concluded by declaring, “Let’s let Mayor de Blasio know that we are not his yokels. Let’s kill the bill and not allow him to use our police as his red coat tax collectors.”
Del. Miller is one of the conservative fighters in the House of Delegates. Take the time to watch this powerful speech, and let’s hope the General Assembly kills this bill.