Taxes on guns, gambling and cigarettes coming to Cook County

November 9, 2012

Cook County commissioners passed the 2013 budget Friday, which means higher taxes on guns, gambling and cigarettes are on the way to Cook County.

The $2.9 billion dollar budget rolls back the county sales tax and contains a lot of new revenue sources. By April of 2013, guns purchased in Cook County will have a $25 tax slapped on them. Casino and tavern owners will have to fork over $200 for every video poker machine they own, and $1000 for every slot machine by next June. 

The budget passed almost unanimously, with Commissioner William Beavers as the lone no vote. Cook County Board President Tony Preckwinkle told commissioners she's pleased with the way they banded together to fill the more than $260 million hole, calling the process "cooperative and collaborative." In the past, members have worked uncomfortably close to the budget deadline.

Commissioners also voiced their own praise and appreciation for the quick process.

"Two years ago when we were passing this budget, it was about four in the morning," said Commissioner John Fritchey. The final budget was approved around lunchtime on Friday.

Yet outside the walls of the county building, President Preckwinkle has already recieved some backlash about the budget. Some Chicago smokers, for example, aren't too thrilled about paying an additional dollar a pack for cigarettes. 

"Someone accosted me yesterday when I was going to lunch about the cigarette tax, and I said the same thing, 'you should quit,'" Preckwinkle said.  

The cigarette tax will take effect on March 1, 2013.