Is raising the tax on cigarettes a good move to ease the budget crunch in Illinois?
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- A report suggests that cash-strapped Illinois could raise $377 million in additional revenue by upping the cigarette tax $1 per pack.
The report by economist Frank Chaloupka at the University of Illinois in Chicago comes at a time that the state is grappling with a budget deficit that experts believe will top $15 billion by June, the end of the current budget year.
The (Bloomington) Pantagraph reports that Illinois last raised its cigarette tax to 98 cents per pack in 2002 and has the 32nd highest cigarette tax.
Senate President John Cullerton calls the revenue-generating cigarette tax among the most important agenda items for the coming year. The Chicago Democrat also says the higher tax would reduce Medicaid costs attributed to smoking-related health concerns and reduce people's desire to smoke.
Information from: The Pantagraph, http://www.pantagraph.com
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