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Published: Saturday, January 3, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 2, 2004 at 11:23 p.m.

Sacred cow

State governments have been facing such a cash crisis in recent years that Virginia is on the verge of taxing one of its sacred cows - Big Tobacco. Although some states tax cigarettes to the tune of as much as $1.51 per pack, Virginia's tobacco tax is a low 2.5 cents. Facing a budget shortfall next year, however, Gov. Mark Warner has suggested a state 25 cent-per-pack tax, with an option for local governments to tack on another 50 cents.

Will that fly? Probably not. The Virginia Farm Bureau is already gearing up to fight the tax. "We feel this is singling out one farm commodity," say's Farm Bureau lobbyist Martha Moore.

Of course, it is a farm commodity that kills thousands of people a year. In that regard, opponents might even call it a death tax.

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