High smoking taxes contribute to Illinois’ grifter culture

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High smoking taxes contribute to Illinois' grifter culture

[cap­tion id=“attachment_50748” align=“alignright” width=“240”]Lake County, Illinois Lake County, Illinois[/caption]

Mayor Rahm Emanuel favors adding 75 per pack to Chicago’s cig­a­rette taxes. On top of the fed­eral, state, and county fees, this new tax, if enacted, will force Chicagoans to pay $7.42 in taxes – the high­est in the nation.

As I am the Marathon Pun­dit, the only smoke you’ll see me exhale is the kind that came out of my lungs dur­ing today’s chilly morn­ing run.

But increas­ing tobacco taxes effects every­one. Because when smok­ing taxes go up, a num­ber of things hap­pen. Some quit, which is a good thing, oth­ers smoke less, while oth­ers seek out their smokes in cheaper juris­dic­tions, such as Indi­ana. The south­east side of Chicago bor­ders the Hoosier State.

Even worse, some retail­ers sell cig­a­rettes with­out the local tax stamps – not only depriv­ing juris­dic­tions of rev­enue, but mak­ing it more dif­fi­cult for hon­est mer­chants to com­pete. For con­ve­nience store own­ers, tobacco sales account for 40 per­cent of their sales.

Chuck Goudie of ABC 7 Chicago remarked ear­lier this month about Cook County – where Chicago is and where I live – that black mar­ket cig­a­rette prof­its “are as high as deal­ing drugs– all at tax­pay­ers’ expense.”

At tax­pay­ers’ expense? Yep. And because smok­ing tax rev­enues almost never match bureau­crats’ col­lec­tion fore­casts, even­tu­ally funds need to come from else­where. So other taxes even­tu­ally are hiked. As James Thurber titled one of his stores, “You could look it up.”

The Heart­land Foun­da­tion quipped that Rahm’s pro­posed move is “a tax hike Al Capone could have loved.”

Scar­face Al, arguably the most famous Chicagoan of the last cen­tury, knew a lot about smug­gling and ille­gal markets.

Lake County, Illinois
Lake County, Illinois

Mayor Rahm Emanuel favors adding 75 per pack to Chicago’s cigarette taxes. On top of the federal, state, and county fees, this new tax, if enacted, will force Chicagoans to pay $7.42 in taxes–the highest in the nation.

As I am the Marathon Pundit, the only smoke you’ll see me exhale is the kind that came out of my lungs during today’s chilly morning run.

But increasing tobacco taxes effects everyone. Because when smoking taxes go up, a number of things happen. Some quit, which is a good thing, others smoke less, while others seek out their smokes in cheaper jurisdictions, such as Indiana. The southeast side of Chicago borders the Hoosier State.

Even worse, some retailers sell cigarettes without the local tax stamps–not only depriving jurisdictions of revenue, but making it more difficult for honest merchants to compete. For convenience store owners, tobacco sales account for 40 percent of their sales.

Chuck Goudie of ABC 7 Chicago remarked earlier this month about Cook County–where Chicago is and where I live–that black market cigarette profits “are as high as dealing drugs– all at taxpayers’ expense.”

At taxpayers’ expense? Yep. And because smoking tax revenues almost never match bureaucrats’ collection forecasts, eventually funds need to come from elsewhere. So other taxes eventually are hiked. As James Thurber titled one of his stores, “You could look it up.”

The Heartland Foundation quipped that Rahm’s proposed move is “a tax hike Al Capone could have loved.”

Scarface Al, arguably the most famous Chicagoan of the last century, knew a lot about smuggling and illegal markets.