SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — A bill awaiting a Senate vote is either about tax fairness or about big business getting bigger.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports, it depends on whom you believe.READ MORE: Northwestern University Bans All Social Activities At Campus Fraternities Until At Least Mid-October After Reports Of Drugging
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports
A roll-your-own machine can produce a carton’s worth of cigarettes for about $20, as opposed to the $50 or more you would pay for the leading national brand at a convenience store.
State Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan) wants to change that.READ MORE: First There Were Reports Of Thefts, Now Park Ridge Moves To Replace Rusty, Insecure Mail Box
“This sets forth a tax and regulatory scheme that would treat roll-your-own cigarettes like regular retail cigarettes, thus closing the tax loophole,” Link said.
But not everyone agrees that tax fairness is the motivation.
“This is not about taxes,” said Phil Accordino, president of Ohio-based RYO Machine LLC, which makes cigarette-rolling machines. “This is about legislating winners and losers.”
Advocates of the “roll your own” industry have said all the bill would do is encourage the customers – who already pay some tax – to go out of state or to the Internet. Owners of roll-your-own shops in Worth and Peoria have described themselves as job creators who would have to put their employees out of work if the bill passes.MORE NEWS: American Red Cross Seeking Blood Donations Amid Emergency Blood Shortage
Senators admit big tobacco is supporting Link’s bill.