Illinois lawmakers are considering a penny-per-ounce tax on every day beverages like juice drinks, soda, sports drinks and tea to fill the state’s budget deficit. The proposed beverage tax will be placed on products that already have a hefty 6.25 percent states sales tax, resulting in higher grocery bills for Illinois families. And in Cook County, where Chicago is located, residents who already pay a county tax and the state sales tax would be hit particularly hard by an additional tax.
“This is certainly taxes on top of taxes,” Claudia Rodriguez, acting executive director of the Illinois Beverage Association, told the Record. “With more than five existing state and local taxes, a new state penny-per-ounce tax would impose 68 cents in new taxes on a typical 99-cent two-liter bottle – a 68 percent tax rate. Then state and local sales taxes must be added.”
The reality is that these taxes are often passed onto consumers who can least afford it. This means the tax will hit people on fixed incomes like seniors and low income families particularly hard. For example, in Philadelphia a new 1.5 cent per ounce tax on beverages resulted in shoppers paying more than $3 in tax on a 12-pack of beverages that cost $5.99.
Politicians may think raising the price of a common grocery item is an easy fix to a budget gap, but they should first consider the harm they cause to low-income families, small businesses, jobs and incomes. To learn more about the negative consequences of beverage taxes, visit The Truth About Beverage Taxes.