Aldermen debate cigarette tax hike

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Chicago aldermen debated on Wednesday whether to raise the cigarette tax.

Mayor Emanuel wants to raise the tax by 75 cents as a way to fill the city’s roughly $340 million budget shortfall.

If the city council approves the increase, it will mean a pack of cigarettes will cost $14.01. That will be the highest in the nation.

Many merchants are against the tax. They argue they will lose money because smokers will buy their cigarettes where it’s cheaper.

“There’s a lot of people that are going down to Indiana and buying them. But, there aren’t really no other options that we can look at for revenue,” said 25th Ward Ald. Danny Solis.

But, 4th Ward Ald. Will Burns says the tax may be a good thing because it would discourage people from smoking.

The Mayor is also proposing raising parking fines, vehicle impoundment fees, and a 50 percent hike on the amusement tax rate on cable TV service.

The full city council will vote next week on the Mayor’s budget.

WGN News Writer C. Hayes published this story.

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