Illinois residents have been willing to deal with some pretty steep tax increases. But Gov. Pat Quinn may have gone too far this time: Quinn wants to tax coffee and sweetened tea products in grocery stores in the same manner as soft drinks.
Gov Quinn has also suggested raising taxes and fees on driver’s licenses (double to $20), license plates ($20 increase), hunting and fishing licenses, cigarettes ($1 increase) and tickets to the State Fair (horrors!). He also wants to extend the state’s sales tax to some shampoo and personal hygiene products.
Chicago, the largest city in Illinois, already has one of the most expensive tax structures in the country, with a sales tax of more than 10%. The newest proposals from the Governor – as well as those already in place in Cook County – are already drawing complaints. And the complaints don’t stop at the city line – residents all over the state have been protesting what they consider “nickel and dime” reactions to a massive budget crunch.
Proponents of the various tax and fee increases argue that they have no real alternatives. Without additional increases on fees and sales taxes, they claim that property taxes will face another increase – or worse (we all know what that means: income taxes!).
Ugh. I know that states and municipalities are suffering in this economy. And I know that taxation feels like the fastest, easiest way to increase revenue. My own great city of Philadelphia has been talking up property and sales tax increases, too, to attack a massive deficit. But taxing coffee? Even bottled, that’s just heresy!