Illinois Lawmakers Consider New Soda Tax


Lawmakers are taking another shot at a soda tax and it’s not sitting well with some people. They want to add a penny to every ounce of pop you buy. The goal is to cut down on obesity.

Not everyone is on board. A Springfield restaurant owner and his customers say the state doesn’t need to tax the people any more than it already does.

Around lunchtime, Charlie Parker’s Diner is at its busiest. But, owner Mike Murphy says he enjoys the business.

“Business has been good, but we work hard at it though.”

The restaurant has been in the Capital City for more than 20-years. Murphy says the state’s negative effects on small businesses has zero impact on their success.

“We’ve been very fortunate. We’ve had some good years over the last few years.”

But, the state is looking to tack on another tax, which seems to leave a bitter taste in some people’s mouths.

“I, like a lot of citizens in Illinois, we really have a distrust right now, of people in Springfield on what they’re going to do with our tax money.”

The proposal is to add a one cent tax on sodas and other sugary drinks. Lawmakers say it’s a way to crack down on obesity and diseases brought on because of it.

“The legislature is going to do what they want to do.”

Nearly 100% of the revenue collected would be deposited into the Illinois Wellness Fund. It would be used for health programs, expansion of obesity prevention and treatment services for Medicaid beneficiaries.

“As an individual, I’m not a big soda drinker. I have a can of pop from a case. I wouldn’t notice another penny or two.”

Eastep says the state already taxes so much and, with this bill, the tax would add $1.44 to a 12-pack of soda, or 68-cents to a two-liter bottle.

“I once read someplace that about half of your disposable income goes to taxes one way or the other. It doesn’t seem like it, a nickel here, a nickel there, but when you add them all up.”

The tax would be on distributors, but the effects will be felt from the buyers.

“When prices go up, we have no choice but to increase prices, so the consumer, at the end, pays for all taxes.”

The bill was first introduced in 2014. It failed. Lawmakers say the reason for the legislation is the link between obesity and soft drinks.

A Harvard study says adults who drink one-to-two servings of sugary drinks per day are 26% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. One sugary drink per day increases a child’s chances of becoming obese by 60%.

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