Cigarette Tax: Enough Puff, Now Pass!

Quick Recap

As always, I look to Ross Catrow's Good Morning, RVA for the quick recap of all things Richmond. Here's what he had to say this morning:

"Parker Agelasto’s cigarette tax ordinance, ORD. 2018–031, made it out of the Finance and Economic Development Committee yesterday with “no recommendation” on a 3–1–1 vote : YES—Agelasto, Jones, Larson; NO—Gray; ABSTAIN—Newbille.

City Council proper should take up this paper on Monday’s meeting!

Now’s the time to rev your email clients and phones—especially those of you living in the 1st District, 3rd District, 6th District, or 7th District—and let your Councilfolk know you support levying a cigarette tax in support of school facility maintenance. You don’t need to write a passionate plea, or a savvy legal defense. Just a quick “Hey, I’m your constituent, and I would like you to vote YES for the cigarette tax.” will do. Here you’ll find each councilmember’s contact information (make sure you copy their liaison, too). If you must, Garet Prior at Richmond Forward has lots and lots of information with which you can construct a cogent argument." 

Vote count and talking points for Council are listed below. 

Action Alert! 

1. Sign the support statement and take action!  

Endorsements by Richmond Free Press, Support Our Schools, American Heart Association, American Lung Association Virginia Chapter, VCU chapter of American Medical Student Association, and the following individuals: Mayor Stoney (if not used for bonding), Kenya Gibson, Amy Wentz, Camille Harris, Montigue Magruder, Ross Catrow, and Dr. Lornel Tompkins. Previous financial studies conducted by the BPOL Task Force and Davenport Multi-Year Investment Team recommended approval.

2. Share this poster and Facebook event to all the people!

Five awesome points for each person who prints off copies and distributes them in a neighborhood gathering place.  

3. Contact your City Council member before April 23rd!

Website directory or click on the homepage image.

4. Show up to City Hall on April 23rd at 6pm to speak out in support.

Go to our homepage or email us for more information.

Vote Count (April 20th) 

Yes

Agelasto, Hilbert, and Larson

Reach out to them with a THANK YOU for supporting the cigarette tax. 

Maybe, but leaning yes

Jones

Reach out to Councilman Jones with a THANK YOU for the committee vote on Thursday. He needs to hear about how this tax will support south side residents (public health) and it can help meet immediate school needs (facilities needs list) for Francis, Greene, Jones, Redd, and Reid. We cannot let another Elkhardt closing happen again! 

Addison 

Reach out to Councilman Addison with a THANK YOU for his possible support of the cigarette tax. He needs to hear about how this tax is quality public health policy and is a best practice of EVERY OTHER CITY in Virginia. Also, it can help meet school needs (facilities needs list) for Thomas Jefferson, Hill, and Mumford.    

Maybe, but leaning no

Newbille

In Justin Mattingly's recap, he captured the important back-and-forth between Newbille and Agelasto. Reach out to Councilwoman Newbille with a THANK YOU for her careful consideration, and that NUMEROUS comprehensive studies on school funding have recommended it as a sustainable and predictable source of revenue. It's not perfect, but it's money today! We ALL want a fully funded facilities plan ($600M+), but getting this in one lump sum is almost impossible. Let's take advantage of this opportunity, today. Also, it can help meet immediate school needs (facilities needs list) for Bellevue, Chimborazo, Fairfield, Woodville, Mason, Franklin Military, and Armstrong.     

Roberston

Reach out to Councilwoman Robertson with a THANK YOU for considering the cigarette tax, and that NUMEROUS comprehensive studies on school funding have recommended it as a sustainable and predictable source of revenue. It's not perfect, but it's money today! We ALL want a fully funded facilities plan ($600M+), but getting this in one lump sum is almost impossible. Let's take advantage of this opportunity, today. Also, it can help meet immediate school needs (facilities needs list), and can be used for more schools renovations like the success at Overby-Sheppard.    

Gray

Reach out to Councilwoman Gray with a THANK YOU for considering the cigarette tax. She needs to hear about the track record of EVERY OTHER VIRGINIA CITY and how this was NOT an economic deterrent to local businesses or drain on local law enforcement. Specifically, it would be good to raise the fact that tobacco sales account for 16% of convenience store revenues, with cigarettes being a segment of that percentage. Also, it can help meet immediate school needs (facilities needs list) for Carver, Fox, Richmond Alternative.     

No! 

Trammell

With family ties to Altria and their headquarters in her district, she's a hard no. 

Hope to see you this Monday night at City Council!