Gov. Pritzker considering vape tax to reduce deficit


Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at an event. Pritzker’s administration proposed a vape tax to help cover Illinois’ budget deficit

Catherine Henderson, City Editor

In their first budget proposal, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and his administration are considering a tax on e-cigarettes to generate revenue for Illinois.

Deputy Gov. Dan Hynes told Politico that the budget transition committee is looking for models of a vaping tax that could be applied statewide. In Chicago last year, for example, the tax on e-cigarettes increased from 80 cents to $1.50 per container and from 55 cents to $1.20 per milliliter of liquid nicotine.

Hynes said the price increase from a possible tax could also address health care concerns to “discourage certain behaviors,” including vaping.

“Every mom and dad who has a teenage adolescent child will stand up and applaud,” Hynes told Politico.

Pritzker will announce his first spending plan to legislators on Feb. 20, though his administration has said it faces a $3.2 billion deficit for the budget year beginning July 1. His administration has placed the blame on Pritzker’s predecessor, former Gov. Bruce Rauner, titling a recently-released budget document “Digging Out: The Rauner Wreckage Report.”

Pritzker has also suggested legalizing and taxing marijuana and sports betting to generate revenue for the state. However, Hynes emphasized that the vaping tax and legalized marijuana still would not be enough to fix the budget.

“It’s a multi-year, multi-budget solution, and so while we take those multiyear steps, we have to be disciplined in spending,” Hynes said. “We have to keep control of spending and make inroads into reducing the deficit.”

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