Illinois lawmakers continue to float the same failed policies of yesteryear, despite the fact that tax hikes which were roundly rejected by the public a year ago are probably even less popular today.

The latest retread, SB 44, is a $1 per pack cigarette tax increase that passed the Senate last year and died in the House. The Senate took up and passed the measure again this year, and the House may vote on it this evening. Those legislators who voted against a cigarette tax increase should do so again for the same reasons that motivated them the last go-round. The cigarette tax is no less regressive or damaging to small business in 2010 than it was in 2009. In fact, with the economy continuing to struggle and unemployment at 11.5 percent, one could argue it is a worse idea now than it was a year ago.

Proponents claim the bill will raise $320 million; that is probably not true. The vast majority of cigarette tax increases bring in less than promised. Because they are generally tied to ongoing spending priorities, budget deficits down the road are basically a foregone conclusion.

ATR sent a vote alert to legislators tonight urging them to oppose SB 44. Concerned Illinois taxpayers should call their elected officials in the House and urge them to vote down this measure. For a list of target House members, see below:

Rep Arroyo  (D-3, Chicago)               773-637-2000
Rep Beiser  (D-111, Alton)                618-465-5900
Rep Burns  (D-26, Chicago)             773-924-2600
Rep Chapa LaVia (D-83, Aurora)     630-264-6855
Rep Colvin  (D-33, Chicago)             773-783-8492
Rep Crespo  (D-44, Hoffman Est)    630-372-3340
Rep Davis  (D-30, Hazel Crest)        708-799-7300
Rep Dugan  (D-79, Bradley)              815-939-1983
Rep Dunkin (D-5, Chicago)               312-266-0340
Rep Flider (D-101, Mt Zion)                217-428-2708
Rep Ford (D-8, Chicago)                    773-378-5902
Rep Franks (D-63, Woodstock)         815-334-0063
Rep Golar (D-6, Chicago)                   773-925-6580
Rep Gordon (D-92, Peoria)                309-681-1992
Rep Hernandez (D-24, Cicero)          708-222-5240
Rep Jackson (D-114, E St Louis)      618-875-9950
Rep Jefferson (D-67, Rockford)         815-987-7433
Rep McAsey (D-85, Lockport)             815-588-0085
Rep Soto (D-4, Chicago)                     773-252-0402
Rep Walker (D-66, Arlington Hts)      847-640-8645 
Rep Berrios (D-39, Chicago)             773-235-3939
Rep Bradley (D-117, Marion)              618-997-9697
Rep Phelps (D-118, Norris City)        618-253-4189
Rep Reitz (D-116, Steeleville)            618-443-5757
Rep Smith (D-91, Canton)                  309-353-6276
Rep Turner (D-9, Chicago)                 773-277-4700