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Preckwinkle proposes tax hikes, including on cigarettes

Chicago will have the second highest cigarette tax in the country if Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has her way in next year's budget.

Preckwinkle proposed on Thursday to raise the tax by one dollar. This would bring the cost of a pack of smokes in Chicago to $6.67. The tax is expected to generate $25.6 million in revenue. The current taxes on a pack of cigarettes in Chicago are divided four different ways, with $2 going to Cook County, $1.98 to the state, $1.01 to the federal government, and 68 cents to the city. Preckwinkle said the cigarette tax is good government policy because it would deter smoking.

Preckwinkle also wants to charge a new 1.25 percent tax on merchandise worth more than $2,500 purchased outside Cook that’s brought into the county.

She also wants an $800 tax on every slot and video poker machines in the county, a $25 tax on every gun purchase and a nickel-per-bullet tax on ammunition.

All the tax and fee increases would raise $43.4 million, according to county projections.

The total cost of Preckwinkle's budget: $2.95 billion.

But, some Cook County Commissioners are worried about raising any taxes.

“I think by us adding any taxes right now to anything could have an impact on us dealing with the bigger problems on whether or not we have gambling. We’re losing a lot of revenue to Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin," said commissioner Earlean Collins.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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