Reporting Craig Dellimore
CHICAGO (CBS) – A Chicago alderman is calling for a rollback on city and county cigarette taxes as a way to cut crime.
WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) said the combined federal, state, county and city taxes on a pack of cigarettes now amounts to $6.67, compared to only $1.17 ten years ago.
Ervin claimed cigarette tax revenues in Chicago have dropped in recent years, partly due to rising cigarette taxes driving smokers out of Cook County to buy their cigarettes.
“We’ve seen the revenue – as it relates to this – decline. So if any implication of raising taxes to increase revenue, those issues have fallen flat, and in fact it has created a black market in many of our communities, which has caused these loose cigarette sales to pop up,” he said.
Ervin said that has led to fights over turf for selling black market cigarettes, and he fears violence will increase.
The alderman has proposed a resolution calling for a rollback of county and city cigarette taxes, so prices are not so much higher than in Indiana, where much of the black market supply originates.
The county recently raided cigarette taxes by $1 per pack to balance its budget.
In all, city and county taxes on cigarettes amount to $3.68 per pack. State and federal taxes amount for $2.99 per pack in Illinois – about a dollar more than in Indiana.