Cigarette Tax Hike Under Consideration To Balance City Budget

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago smokers could face even higher cigarette taxes as Mayor Rahm Emanuel tries to balance his proposed 2013 budget.

As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, Mayor Emanuel says his new budget will not propose increases in city property taxes, the sales tax, the gas tax, or the amusement tax as some have speculated.

But when he was asked whether he would hike the cigarette tax – now the second highest in the nation – the mayor said no decision has been made.

“Anything that relates, if we do consider the cigarette tax, it has to invest in children’s health,” Emanuel said.

The city faces a $298 million budget shortfall.

Currently, the combined city and state cigarette tax in Chicago is $5.67. The only city with a higher city and state cigarette tax is New York, which is only 18 cents higher.

If the city does raise cigarette taxes, it would come on the heels of a $1 per pack state cigarette tax hike that took effect on July 1, the Tribune reported. That hike has driven the price of a pack of cigarettes above the $11 mark in many areas.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

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