Cigarette Tax Hike Would Harm Illinois

Published March 1, 2010

Anti-smoking advocates want a $1 per pack hike in Illinois’ cigarette tax on top of the 62 cents per pack federal excise tax increase that took effect just last year (Feb. 11, “Anti-smoking group wants another $1-per-pack tax”).

Such an increase would disproportionately burden low- and moderate- income Illinoisans and create numerous unintended consequences. Those who think tobacco taxes affect only smokers are sorely mistaken.

Each time taxes are raised, more money is pulled out of the economy, and a growing government budget is being propped up. Once these targeted sin tax revenues begin to weaken, as they often do, these same advocates will be back looking for a new tax to hike. Next time it could be you.

The fact that the legislature continues to search for new revenue sources is evidence that the real problem in Springfield is the lack of spending restraint and inefficiency, rather than a lack of revenue.

John Nothdurft
The Heartland Institute

This letter to the editor was originally published in the Daily Herald.