In Illinois, law makers are considering a penny-per-ounce tax on beverages like juice drinks, soda, sports drinks and teas to help balance the state’s budget deficit. While this may seem like an easy fix, taxes on food and beverages have real and devastating consequences for small businesses and families says Austin Berg of the Illinois Policy Institute.

In an opinion piece for, Berg breaks down why a beverage tax would be damaging to local businesses and the economy in Illinois. Since a steep beverage tax went into effect in Philadelphia shoppers have been leaving the city to purchase their groceries, and Berg says Illinois families will likely follow suit.

“High taxes change how businesses and families make decisions.  After all, Illinois is home to the worst outmigration to other states in the nation. The most common reason Illinoisans want to leave is taxation, according to polling from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute,” writes Berg.

And Berg warns that consumers aren’t the only group that could be fleeing the state. Illinois businesses could also consider relocating across state lines.  

Bill Meier, general manager of Excel Bottling Co. in Breese, Ill., who employs 30 Illinoisans at his plant says he is considering moving his family business out of Illinois if lawmakers pass the discriminatory tax.

“We wouldn’t do it in Illinois. We’d put it in St. Louis,” Meier said. “Why would we keep our business in Illinois?”

There are better ways to deal with Illinois’s budget deficit than placing the burden on the backs of hard-working families and small businesses.  To learn more about the negative consequences of beverage taxes, visit The Truth About Beverage Taxes.