Letter to the Editor: Smokers Won’t Get Us Out of This Mess

Published May 25, 2010

David Merriman, head of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Economics Department, found that 75 percent of the cigarettes smoked by Chicagoans are not bought in the city, depriving the city of an estimated $120 million in revenue per year (Sun-Times, May 24, “Quinn has ax in hand.”)

This is no surprise, considering at the time of the study Chicago’s combined per-pack tax on cigarettes was three times the tax outside Cook County and nearly four times Indiana’s tax. If the Illinois Legislature decides to add a tax of $1 per pack to the current $4.67 per-pack rate, the city and state will see even more consumers go to Indiana to shop.

The Legislature should instead cut and cap spending in order to promote economic growth and prevent future deficits.

John Nothdurft
The Heartland Institute

This letter to the editor was originally published in the Chicago Sun-Times.