Illinois Governor supports cigarette tax for education

Just about a week ago, a tax increase was applied to alcohol in the state of Illinois.

And now, with more than 200,000 college students in mind, Governor Pat Quinn is looking into yet another tax increase on cigarettes.

KHQA’s Jarod Wells got some reaction from some local consumers and talked with a cigarette retailer who is also a former smoker.

“We need to get more revenue to pay for important things. One of those things is college scholarships for kids for the second semester of this school year,” said Illinois Governor Pat Quinn

That is why Governor Quinn will ask the General Assembly to raise the tax on a pack of cigarettes by one dollar. Putting the state tax on cigarettes at nearly two dollars.

“That’s outrageous. To me, in my time, in my day, a carton of cigarettes was $10. To see it at even $50 right now is unbelievable,” said Vice President of L & L Market in Loraine, IL, Rick Lester.

This increase may have some smokers scaling back.

“A smoker buys cigarettes when they need them. They don’t look at buying quantities in advance or anything. I think as far as our business goes, instead of someone buying a pack of cigarettes and maybe a candy bar or soda pop, they may just end up buying a pack,” said Lester.

Lester used to smoke. He told KHQA he quit because cigarettes became too expensive. Another smoker we talked to said she will continue to smoke until she can’t afford them. She doesn’t agree with the tax, but feels if she’s going to pay extra, education is a good cause.

We also talked to a non-smoker. She said she doesn’t agree with taxing cigarettes, but likes the idea of the extra money going to help students.

“I think as time goes on people will get used to it, just like gas prices going up. But initially I think it’s going to be a shock,” said Lester.

There’s no word yet on when Governor Quinn plans to move forward with this issue.

But he does plan on postponing a fight over income tax.

© Copyright: September 08, 2009 Connecttristates

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