Lawmakers in Illinois are considering following the example of Philadelphia by imposing a large beverage tax on sugary products in the name of improving public health.
Specifically, legislators propose a one cent per ounce tax on sugary drinks in an effort to reduce obesity throughout Illinois, but local businesses are concerned it will put another onerous financial burden on stores. The tax applies to retailers, who will then adjust their product prices to account for the added costs, which could be imposed by May, 2017. The proposal would focus primarily on bottled soda, but will also apply to sugary syrup used in coffee shops and soda from a tap, reports KFVS.
Owners of coffee shops and markets throughout the state are already voicing opposition to the tax, which they fear will drive away business.
“Little by little, nickle and dime-ing the hard working man, and the business owner, its going to make it even harder on us,” Joseph Labotte of Botski’s Cafe and Coffee told KFVS.
While not nearly as costly as the recently introduced soda tax in Philadelphia, the proposal will still lead to a noticeable markup on sugary products. A 12 pack of 12-ounce soda cans will cost roughly $1.44 more if the state legislators pass the proposal.
Many consumers are still in shock at price hikes across Philadelphia due to a similar soda tax that took effect Jan 1. In response to a growing body of disgruntled residents, Mayor Jim Kenney is heaping blame on businesses. Kenney, who led the charge for the passage of the tax, is lashing out at the business community over higher prices, even accusing retailers of stirring up resentment against the tax.
Kenney is accusing retailers of price gouging, purposefully constructed to undermine the tax and the efforts of the local government.
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