Committee endorses cigarette tax hike

By Holly Brantley - bio | email

ANNA, IL (KFVS) - Cigarettes in Illinois could be about to get even more expensive.

"I'll have to send off for them or quit," said Greg Browning. "One or the other."

Browning is a smoker, one of many in Illinois not happy to hear the state is another step closer to adding a tax of a dollar to cigarettes.

"I think it's really bad," said Browning. "It's hurting all the people that can't afford it."

If the tax goes up a dollar, it would more than double the current tax and be phased in over two year. Democrats and Republicans are split over the hike.

Republicans argue the increase would hurt the poor. But, if it passes democrats want to use the tax money for construction plans and they say it would discourage smoking.

"The government taxes whatever they want," said Larry Laurentius, a former smoker. "It's just another round of taxes."

"It's just greed," said Keith Robertson. "If politicians would start using their brain this state would be better off."

People in Illinois say they are feel the taxes are counter productive. They say plenty of them take their business to Missouri where they don't have to pay as much.

"Seventy-five percent of the people in Anna to go Cape for fuel, cigarettes, and everything else," said Robertson.

Businesses on the Missouri side of the of the river say they already see people from nearby towns in Illinois coming in to buy cigarettes, gas, and more. If the price goes up they expect more customers.

The measure still has to pass the Senate.

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