Cigarette smokers who want to save money can use a rolling machine and fill it with paper tubes and bulk tobacco. Under a bill awaiting a Senate vote that would change. The reasons vary, depending on who’s speaking. State Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan) has introduced a bill, with the approval of tobacco giant Altria (formerly known as Philip Morris), which would tax cigarettes from “roll-your-own” (RYO) machines at the same rate as the mass-produced kind most smokers buy.
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Phil Accordino, president of RYO Machine, L. L. C., says Link’s bill is nothing more than an attempt to put another notch in Altria’s belt. “This is about legislating winners and losers,” he says. Altria is one of Link’s campaign contributors. Link said the tax benefit to Illinois could be in the “hundreds of millions of dollars” if his bill passes. SB 2900 has passed the Senate Executive Committee.