Last week, Capitol Confidential reported that Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is considering hiking taxes on non-cigarette tobacco products in an effort to bring in more revenue from tobacco users who have apparently rejected heavily-taxed cigarettes in favor of cheaper options such as rolling their own or using products such as snuff.
On Monday, it emerged the Cook County Board endorsed Preckwinkle’s tobacco tax proposal by a 10-7 vote. The Cook County Board is set to take a final vote on the proposed budget on Friday.
Now, it is being reported that separate to this proposed tax hike, Chicago aldermen are looking at their own tobacco tax hike. From the Chicago Trubune:
Two aldermen looking for last-minute ways to head off painful budget cuts proposed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel floated the idea Wednesday of extending the city’s cigarette tax to other tobacco products.
Ald. Matthew O’Shea, 19th, and Leslie Hairston, 5th, brought up that option at a City Council meeting in an effort to soften spending cuts at city libraries, mental health clinics and the 911 center.
Aldermen and administration officials weren’t sure how much new money could be raised by broadening the tobacco tax — as Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle plans to do so she can raise $12 million for the county next year.
One bright spot for Chicago tobacco users: Members of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration say that the proposal could not be pursued without changes in state law also being made.