Updated: 12:46 p.m. Friday
The Cook County Board approved the proposed budget, including the one-dollar tax increase on cigarettes, on Nov. 9, according to WGN Radio.
Will County businesses that sell tobacco and border the Cook County line may benefit from a proposed one-dollar tax increase on cigarettes purchased in Cook County.
The tax increase was proposed by Cook County Board president Toni Preckwinkle and will be up for tentative approval on Nov. 9, along with the entire Cook County budget. A pack of cigarettes currently carries a two-dollar tax from Cook County.
If the proposal passes, the tax would increase the total state and county taxes on cigarettes to $4.98 a pack for residents. The hike keeps prices in the Chicagoland area some of the highest in the country, second only to New York City, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
Will County, however, has no such cigarette tax.
Will County board member and Frankfort Township supervisor Jim Moustis says the proposed tax increase has the potential to drive Cook County residents across the county line to purchase cigarettes, which could help businesses in Will County.
“It’ll help our sales of cigarettes in Will County,” said Moustis.
Moustis said that many tobacco stores and gas stations in Will County already reap the profits of proximity to a taxing county. Moustis cited the Speedway gas station at the corner of 183rd St. and S. Harlem Avenue in Tinley Park, which sits on the Will County line. He said the gas station sells thousands of cartons of cigarettes each week.
According to Moustis, the county line location has attracted significant interest from developers and retailers.
Frankfort village administrator Jerry Ducay says he expects to see a similar increase in interest from tobacco retailers hoping to do business in Frankfort.
“You will probably see more interest in Will County locations,” said Ducay.
Frankfort has experienced a noticeable growth in the number of tobacco and tobacco accessory stores in recent years. The increase motivated the village board to enact a new tobacco licensing policy last summer. Under the policy, stores that primarily sell tobacco are subject to a more extensive review process than gas stations, grocery stores and other businesses that contract accessory tobacco sales.
Mokena Economic and Community Development director Alan Zordan agrees that the Cook County tax will likely lead to an increase in Will County cigarette sales. However, he doesn’t believe the tax will affect the number of tobacco stores in Mokena, which is currently home to four such specialty shops.
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