SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN) – A couple of new ways to tax tobacco in Illinois are making their way through the General Assembly.
A House committee has passed a bill that would allow cities to tax tobacco by whatever unit of measure they choose – by revenue, by weight, whatever. Cities already enjoy this privilege in taxing cigarettes. Phil Cobb of the City of Chicago’s revenue department told the committee this could mean up to $2.5 million more for the city per year.
Another bill would put “little cigars” in the same class as cigarettes when considering the tax. Cigars are taxed at a much lower rate than cigarettes. While health advocates say this makes sense, representatives of companies which make the little cigars say the real story is that the bill is being put forth by Altria, the company which used to be called Philip Morris. John O’Connell of the Cigar Association of America says Big Tobacco is simply trying to crush small niche companies such as his constituents.
The Lung Association denies it was put up to carrying the bill.
HB 2873 (measuring tobacco) and HB 1731 (little cigars) have both passed the House Environmental Health Committee.
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