SPRINGFIELD, IL –Senator Terry Link (D-Waukegan) voted with his Democratic colleagues on a measure that will not only increase the tax on cigarettes $1.00 a pack, but also apply that tax to “roll your own” (RYO) cigarettes.  This closes a loophole that currently exists in state law.

“By increasing the cigarette tax, we are not only ensuring the stability of the Medicaid program, but also making sure hospitals in Illinois that provide charity care can keep their exemptions,” said Senator Link.  “The services they offer are vital to those who can’t afford health care by any other means.”

Senate Bill 2194 will cover a number of issues.  The measure will cover tobacco taxes for not only “roll your own machines” but also for cigarettes, snuff, cigars, and chewing tobacco.  The tax will help pay for the Medicaid program and provides for hospital property, sales, and income tax exemptions.

One benefit of this increase is that property tax exemptions for hospitals that provide charity care will remain intact.  In addition, $240 million will be put towards shoring up the Medicaid program.   Almost 2.7 million people in Illinois currently rely on Medicaid.   More than 60 percent of the recipients are children, about nine percent are adults with developmental disabilities, and just over six percent are seniors who primarily receive help paying for nursing home care.   

RYO machines use loose pipe tobacco and are currently taxed lower than commercially manufactured cigarettes.  In addition, cigarettes produced by these machines, or at “filling stations” as they are sometimes referred to, do not comply with current state and federal regulations concerning warning labels or fire standards.

Category: Releases


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