NBC Chicago – Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle could target smokers, gamblers and gun owners in her proposed 2013 spending plan, to be unveiled Thursday.
Reports of the ideas swirled the last few weeks, and commissioners who’d been briefed on the proposal told the Chicago Sun-Times a $1-per-pack cigarette tax hike is expected along with a nickel tax for every bullet sold in Cook County and an $800 annual tax on slot and video poker machines.
Preckwinkle’s spending plan comes in at about $3 million, and the Sun-Times reports there will be no new property taxes. The budget also is expected to eliminate about 400 vacant jobs.
Besides raising money to close a $115 million budget gap, the county president said a tax on bullets and guns could curb violence.
“Gun violence is a real problem for us,” Preckwinkle said last week said during a brief meeting with reporters. “It’s a problem for us in our criminal justice system and it’s a problem for us in our health care system, and I make no apologies for the proposal.”
Preckwinkle said acute care for the average shooting victim cost taxpayers $52,000 because nearly 70 percent of the victims don’t have health insurance.