Illinois lawmaker pushes to hike state cigarette tax by $1

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois -- The Democratic president of the Illinois Senate, John Cullerton, is supporting a plan to raise the state's cigarette tax by $1 per pack.

According to a report by Chicago Tribune, the tax is about three-times the 32-cent cigarette tax that Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker proposed in his budget plan.

Supporters of the tax say there are multiple benefits to raising the tax: an additional $159 million in revenue for the state, a reduction in smoking rates and money saved on health costs.

Another element in Cullerton's plan is nearly doubling the state's wholesale tax on other tobacco products, from 64% to 36%, according to the report.  That would garner about $20 million in revenue.

The Senate has approved Governor Pritzker's graduated income-tax plan, which would charge a rate of 7.99% for the most affluent residents.

Currently, Illinois' tax is $1.98 per pack.  The last time it went up was 2012.

Cullerton's plan has not yet been filed.  The Senate approved Governor Pritzker's proposal, but awaits approval from the House.

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