Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, sent a letter to County Commissioners in Cook County, Illinois today, urging them to oppose a cigarette tax hike contained in the budget proposal of Cook County Board President Preckwinkle. The letter highlighted the past failures of tobacco tax hikes in increasing revenue for government, and also noted that it will push business to neighboring states and counties. Among other things, Mr. Norquist stated:

"Washington, D.C. raised its cigarette tax by 50 cents in 2009 and actually realized a net decline in tobacco tax revenue. Even more telling is Cook County’s $1 tax hike in 2006. Studies show that Chicagoans flocked to neighboring Indiana to make their purchases, with an estimated 75 percent of cigarettes consumed in Cook County purchased elsewhere – meaning foregone revenue for local government. Raising the excise tax by another $1 will only drive more consumers to Indiana and neighboring counties, and the county excise tax on cigarettes will continue to become a more unstable source of revenue”

To read a complete copy of the letter, click here.