Rahm: Higher Cigarette & Amusement Taxes

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is considering an increase in city taxes on cigarettes and entertainment to help close an anticipated $369 million gap in next year’s budget, City Hall sources said Wednesday.  …

It’s unclear how much the cigarette tax might be raised. A city tobacco tax increase would come on the heels of a $1-a-pack state hike that took effect July 1. The city last increased its cigarette tax by 20 cents — to 68 cents a pack — in 2006.

Taxes on a pack of cigarettes in Chicago total $5.67, the second-highest per-pack tax in the nation, behind New York City’s $5.85 a pack. The city expects to bring in $18.7 million in cigarette taxes this year, compared with $32.9 million just six years ago, according to city financial records.

via Chicago Tribune.

Cook County has already proven that when you raise cigarette taxes you lose revenue.  The city’s own numbers are another example of that.

Does Rahm have any plan to cut ANY spending?  Anything other than police officers?

Why don’t we shut down the TIFs?  Take fund necessary to pay off the bonds and do so; take the rest of the funds and return them to the general fund.  That would be quick and easy.

Enough with the !@#$^ taxes.

Denise Rich: Democrat Who Fled the U.S.

Denise Rich, the wealthy socialite and former wife of pardoned billionaire trader Marc Rich, has given up her U.S. citizenship – and, with it, much of her U.S. tax bill. Rich, 68, a Grammy-nominated songwriter and glossy figure in Democratic and European royalty circles, renounced her American passport in November, according to her lawyer.

via Independent Film News.

Another fine Tax Avoidance / Laffer Curve example.

Good to see a rich Democrat in on the action (no pun intended.)

Gotta Love American Ingenuity (& Tax Avoidance)

So I’m reading two stories (here and here) about a new law that will effectively outlaw Roll-Your-Own tobacco stores.  It’s something I kinda follow because I always thought it was a decent business model (until the government outlaws your business) and another fine example of what steps people will go through to avoid taxes.

In short:

A tiny amendment buried in the federal transportation bill to be signed today by President Barack Obama will put operators of roll-your-own cigarette operations in Las Vegas and nationwide out of business at midnight.  …

The machines are used by customers who buy loose tobacco and paper tubes from the shop and then turn out a carton of finished cigarettes in as little as 10 minutes, often varying the blend to suit their taste. Savings are substantial – at $23 per carton, half the cost of a name-brand smoke – in part because loose tobacco is taxed at a lower rate.

via ReviewJournal.com.

And I was thinking about how sad this was for all the people who work in this industry: the store owners, their employees, the folks who manufacture the RYO machines, their families, the companies who make the cigarette tubes, and the loose pipe tobacco makers, and all of the folks who work in packaging all of these things.

And then… in the comment section of the Law Vegas article I read this:

James Fliess Jul. 6, 2012 | 2:47 p.m.

Just a thought. My understanding, and maybe I’m wrong, is that cigarettes manufactured by these machines must cost (via taxes) as much as other cigarettes. How about this arrangement. The store sells the tobacco and supplies as they always have, but they do not have a rolling machine. A buisness next door does not sell tobacco or supplies, but it rents time on their rolling machine. Does it work?

Kudos to you Mr. James Fliess!!