Daley Proposes Another Cigarette Tax Increase

20-cent hike follows 32 cents last year

CHICAGO -- Mayor Richard M. Daley wants to raise the city of Chicago's cigarette tax by 20 cents a pack in 2006, but shelved all other increasesincluding proposed parking and delivery tax hikesin response to business opposition, City Hall sources told the Chicago Sun-Times.

The mayor's team has focused on a cigarette tax that was raised by 32 cents just a year ago. If the mayor has his way, the new levy would be 68 cents a pack, said the report.

The sin tax would raise $9 million. All other possible increases outlined [image-nocss] for aldermen in September are now off the table, sources told the newspaper.

In September, aldermen were told Daley would raise revenues by $37.7 million with tax increases on everything from cigarettes, parking and deliveries to phone bills and real estate transactions.

The mayor's decision to raise the cigarette tax again comes at a time when the City Council is considering a landmark ban on smoking in restaurants, bars and virtually all of indoor Chicago, the report said.

It is not known how the Council will react to the second straight cigarette tax increase. Last year, three aldermen proposed a $1-a-pack tax on cigarettes to accomplish two goalsraise $52 million while discouraging smokers who cannot afford to kick the habit. That proposed increase went nowhere, said the report.

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