CHICAGO
10/18/2012 11:55 am ET Updated Oct 18, 2012

Cook County Cigarette Tax: Toni Preckwinkle's Budget Proposal Includes $1-Per-Pack Tax Hike

Cigarettes in Chicago are about to get even pricier, per the budget proposal introduced Thursday by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Preckwinkle is planning to increase the tax on a pack of cigarettes by one dollar next year, which -- at a total of $6.67 -- would make Chicago home to the nation's second-highest taxes on the sale of smokes, the Chicago Tribune reports.

A similar tax hike on the sale of cigarettes was approved by Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn this year, CBS Chicago reports.

Preckwinkle previously hinted at the increased tax on cigarettes earlier this year when she announced that the county is facing a $267.5 million budget shortfall -- less than preliminary shortfalls of preceding fiscal years but still coming up short due to "significant" revenue declines, such as the planned .25 percent rollback of the state's sales tax hike and the reduction in patient billing fees from the county healthcare system.

Among the other tax increases included in Preckwinkle's proposed spending plan are increasing the cost of playing a round of golf on the county's public courses by a dollar (or more), increasing the cost of picnic permits in the county's forest preserves, introducing a new tax on gambling machines and the controversial 5-cents-per-bullet, $25-per-gun "violence" tax.

The increased taxes and fees are projected to raise about $43 million, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Preckwinkle formally introduced her proposed budget Thursday morning. A full transcript of her budget address has been posted on the county's website.

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