Beginning in January, those purchasing cigarettes in Madison County will pay an additional tax after the board of supervisors recently approved a 40-cent levy per pack.
The new local tax is expected to raise approximately $125,000 in revenue annually for the county. Earlier this year, the General Assembly gave localities the ability to tax cigarettes up to 40 cents per pack. The program will be administered through a regional approach.
In addition to approving the tax, the supervisors also agreed to join the Blue Ridge Cigarette Tax Board created by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District. It will be responsible for collecting the tax and distributing it to the localities monthly.
It takes six localities to form the board and eight have been invited. Albermarle, Augusta, Fluvanna, Greene, Nelson, Orange and the City of Charlottesville have signed on. Augusta opted for a 15-cent per pack tax. Charlottesville already implemented the tax much earlier since cities have long been able to tax cigarettes.
It’s likely to cost just over $218,000 to create the board, approximately $8,300 of which will be Madison County’s responsibility. Supervisors also had the option to run the program locally, but ultimately decided against it.
“[The tax] is a potential revenue source that has been identified,” county attorney Sean Gregg said. “The board is always looking for revenue sources. The regional group alleviates the burden on the commissioner of revenue’s office.”
During a public hearing, two spoke against implementing the tax. Judd Buchanan questioned what the money would be used for and said that the people who smoke wouldn’t quit over the price change, but would rather opt to go without healthcare, food or other essentials.
Thomas Bryant, a representative of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets said the tax will hurt the people who sell cigarettes the most.