November 9, 2012 – The cost of buying cigarettes and guns in Cook County will rise next year after commissioners today voted 16-1 to approve County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s $2.95 billion budget. In addition to the $1-per-pack increase on a pack of smokes and a new $25 per-gun tax on firearm purchases, the board also enacted a 1.25 percent use tax on large out-of-county purchases, with an exemption on the first $3,500 spent. There’s also a $1,000-per-year tax on slot machines and a $200-per-year tax on video gambling terminals. The cigarette tax increases March 1, while the use tax and gun tax are effective April 1. The gambling machine tax won’t be implemented until June 1, giving the Illinois General Assembly time to offer up an alternative way to share gambling revenue with the county if it so chooses. All those taxes, and some modest fee increases for permits and morgue documents, is expected to raise $41.7 million. Preckwinkle’s budget also kills off the last quarter-cent of the penny-on-the-dollar sales tax increase enacted under Preckwinkle’s predecessor, Todd Stroger, which will inflict an $86 million hit on the county’s bottom line. The county portion of the sales tax will drop to .75 percent on Jan. 1.