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$3B Cook County budget includes new taxes

CHICAGO – The Cook County Board has approved a nearly $3 billion budget that includes a $1-a-pack tax hike on cigarettes and a $25 tax on firearms purchased at suburban gun shops.

The county's budget passed on a 16-1 vote. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle thanked commissioners after the Friday vote, saying she appreciated the "cooperative and collaborative" budget process. The budget notably did not include a Preckwinkle-supported controversial nickel-per-bullet tax. She dropped that tax idea last week.

Cook County — the nation's second-largest county — faces a budget shortfall of more than $260 million. Other new taxes include a $1,000 tax on casino slot machines and $200 on video gambling machines in suburban bars and restaurants.

The cigarette tax takes effect March 1. The gambling taxes start June 1.

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