Social programs are one of the things that Democrats champion. So it is no surprise that Democrats in Chicago are pushing new legislation that would use $755 million dollars to pay for a new school program. The school program would be used for at-risk eighth graders and for incoming high school freshmen to transition into high school level academics. Most people wouldn’t mind a program that helps kids. The problem is that the program is being paid for with new taxes on cigars, smokeless tobacco, and cigarette papers. It comes as no surprise that new taxes are highly unpopular. Taxes are unpopular for a variety of reasons, but many conservatives view them as a redistributive policy, and they don’t want the government determining where (or to whom) their money goes.
Obviously, the tobacco industry is also against the tax increase, but they are not in much of a position to fight it. Companies that use a tobacco merchant account often use The High Risk Guys for payment processing. The tobacco industry has lost much of its power and influence to lobby with the government. The tobacco industry has also lost the support of the people, so nobody will be standing up and fighting for their right to sell cigarettes. But people will fight, in principle, against raising taxes. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is planning the tax hike, will likely have a fight on his hands.
The problem for the Mayor of Chicago is that he also has a battle coming from the left—with the death of LaQuan McDonald by the hands of his Chicago Police Department, many Democrats and left-leaning Chicagoans have been calling for his ouster. Those are the exactly same people he’d need to support him against Republicans who do not want their taxes raised. Because Rahm is unlikely to get support from the left, he’ll find it extremely difficult to get this legislation passed, and ultimately it will probably go nowhere. If Rahm had more support from his base, he’d put up a better fight. But right now, those same folks are calling for him to resign from office over a police brutality case.