Illinois cares about your health tax dollars

June 1, 2007

cigarette_butt.jpg

The Illinois legislature is talking out of both sides of its mouth again.  After (stupidly) passing a total indoor smoking ban to be effective January 1st, 2008 (the governor says he will sign it) ,  it has now offered an amendment to exempt casinos from the ban.   The reasoning: 

Proponents say it’s necessary to protect the taxes that the state and local host communities receive from the boats, especially those along the border like the Metro East area, where competing boats in other states will continue to allow smoking.

By some estimates, casinos lose as much as 20 percent of their business when smoking is banned, a drop which would translate into $2 million from East St. Louis’ budget and more than $140 million that the state earmarks for schools.

As both a smoker and a gambler I agree that casinos will lose money if a ban is enacted.   However the point of the original bill was to “protect” workers and non-smoking patrons from second-hand smoke. We were told that restaurants and bars wouldn’t lose business.  But now, when it is the state’s ass on the line, we have to “think of the children”? 

I call bullshit.

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