Bootlegging cigarettes a growing problem in Illinois -

Bootlegging cigarettes a growing problem in Illinois

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(KMOV)-- One Illinois watchdog group is urging lawmakers to double the tax on cigarettes to nearly $2 a pack. That could mean a $16 a carton difference between Missouri and Illinois when it comes to the cost of cigarettes.

There's already a big difference in prices between Missouri and Illinois. In Missouri the cost of a pack of Newport cigarettes: $4.60 including tax. In Illinois it's nearly $2 a pack more at $6.15.
Officials in Illinois admit bootlegging is already a problem. There are signs warning drivers it can cost you your car and a huge fine. The re-selling of untaxed cigarettes costs the state of Illinois millions in lost revenues each year because states on every border with Illinois have cheaper tobacco taxes.
An Illinois business owner estimates he loses 20% of his business to Missouri already for cigarettes and gas, which is 20-cents higher due to taxes. He thinks another tax increase would just make it worse.
The Illinois retail marketing association is opposed to any tax increase. They say tax revenue actually dropped in Cook County, around Chicago, after the city increased tobacco taxes. Smokers simply drove to Indiana to buy their smokes.

Marc Cox is on a story about a new fine that could cost you up to $25,000 for bootlegging cigarettes.

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