Senate Democrats re-increase cigarette tax

By The Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A day after proposing an increase in cigarette taxes, Senate Democrats increased their increase.

They now want to raise the tax by 90 cents a pack instead of 75 cents. If approved, that would mean smokers pay $1.88 in state taxes on each pack of cigarettes.

The bigger increase was approved 6-4 Thursday by the Revenue Committee and now goes to the Senate floor.

“What’s the number going to be tomorrow?” Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, asked sarcastically.

“We’d better vote on this quick,” responded the sponsor, Sen. John Cullerton, D-Chicago.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

Democrats want the bigger increase partly because their original proposal might not generate as much money as they expected. They had predicted it would yield about $328 million a year, but legislative fiscal experts said it actually would be about $300 million.

The bigger increase should generate somewhere between $350 million and $370 million.

Supporters hope to use the money to pay off billions of dollars worth of bonds that would fund construction of new roads and schools. In addition, some would go to hospitals and pharmacies to whom the state owes money.