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|Senate Considers Another Cigarette Tax
|(IRN)-State Senators are once again mulling over a cigarette tax increase. It's a bit larger than the one passed just shy of two years ago, but it would fund different areas.
Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) introduced a measure to charge smokers an extra dollar per pack, and stagger it over to years. So a 50 cent increase would take effect this July (fiscal year 2012), and another 50 cent increase would take effect next July (fiscal year 2013).
The bill passed out of the Senate Executive Committee on by a 9-6 vote; no Republicans supported the measure.
Cullerton's spokeswoman says it was his intention to call it shortly after it left committee for a floor vote, but it never made it. There weren't enough votes, despite the Senate's Democratic majority.
State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville), whose district borders Missouri and Iowa, is one such democrat who says he won't vote for it.
"If it was just cigarettes it would be one thing," says Sullivan. "But many people who buy cigarettes, when they travel to Missouri for example, not only do they buy cigarettes, they buy groceries, they buy other goods."
Frank Cholupka, an economics professor at the University of Illinois Chicago, testified as a proponent of the legislation. He estimates the state would raise an additional $1.7 billion dollars over the next five years should this increase take effect.
The money would not be used to help offset the state budget deficit, however. Senator Cullerton called this bill as part of a package to essentially re-define the state's capital plan.
Cullerton says the money raised by this tax would be used to supplement liquor taxes imposed a couple of years ago with the first capital plan.
(Source: Illinois Radio Network)
|03 16 11 by Newsroom
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