Board president abandons bullet tax proposal

CHICAGO (AP) – The top official in the county that encompasses Chicago said Wednesday that she will drop plans for a controversial nickel-per-bullet tax but will continue support for a $25 tax on firearms.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle had said the ordinance was more about addressing gun violence than raising money for the nation’s second-largest county, which faces a budget shortfall of more than $260 million.

But there were questions about whether Preckwinkle had enough support for the tax from members of the board, who will vote on a proposed budget Friday.

Cook County Commissioner Edwin Reyes told the Chicago Sun-Times that Preckwinkle’s office is, “trying to figure out what to do. They don’t have the support for it.”

In addition to pulling the bullet tax, Preckwinkle said she would create a $2 million anti-gun violence fund that will be overseen by an advisory committee.

The proposed tax angered gun-rights advocates, who predicted it would drive business from Cook County and to neighboring Indiana and Wisconsin.

The Chicago Tribune reports the bullet tax was expected to raise $400,000 and the firearm tax $600,000.

Preckwinkle proposed using proceeds from the tax for various county services including medical care for gunshot victims.

Law enforcement officials would not have to pay the tax, but Preckwinkle’s office had said it would apply to 40 federally licensed gun dealers in the county.