CHICAGO – State Representative David McSweeney has been joined by 66 fellow members of the Illinois House of Representatives in sponsoring House Resolution 148, which opposes any new taxes on beverages and supports the thousands of Illinois small businesses that are linked to the beverage industry in the state.
“Representative McSweeney and a bipartisan group of representatives have stood up for the industry and Illinois families. They understand that adding yet another tax on common grocery and restaurant products will have disastrous, unintended consequences, creating higher prices at neighborhood grocers and restaurants, and causing massive job losses across several industries,” stated Claudia Rodriguez, Acting Executive Director, Illinois Beverage Association.
Beyond the regressive nature of beverage tax proposals, these taxes could severely hurt local economic growth and job creation. If imposed, a penny-per-ounce tax is estimated to destroy more than 19,000 Illinois jobs, eliminate more than $875 million in wages and would result in $1.695 billion in lost economic activity. More than 90,000 jobs in restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, movie theaters and more rely on the industry – all of which could be hurt by a proposed tax.
“We are thankful for Representative McSweeney’s initiative and support for retailers and the beverage industry. A statewide beverage tax would be devastating to the state’s economy and we’re glad to see a majority of House members being supportive of an industry that employs thousands of Illinois residents,” stated Rob Karr, President and CEO, Illinois Retail Merchants Association.
A similar tax proposal imposed in Philadelphia has already produced devastating effects on the local economy, hurting small businesses and jobs. Early reports have found beverage sales in Philadelphia to have dropped between 30 and 50 percent as consumers leave the city to do their shopping. Many businesses have been forced to cut employees, with more than 300 layoffs already announced and thousands of employee work hours cut. Additional cuts are expected. With a pending penny-per-ounce beverage tax set to be implemented on July 1, 2017 in Cook County, a new state tax would multiply these negative impacts and dramatically weaken the state’s economy.
A broad coalition of more than 1,000 concerned Illinois families, small businesses, labor unions, chambers of commerce and community organizations are opposed to regressive beverage taxes, which could dramatically increase costs for many common grocery items, including juices, teas, sports-drinks and sodas.
HR 148 is a bipartisan effort with more than 66 co-sponsors opposed to approving yet another tax on the beverage industry.