Despite Illinois law only allowing for sparklers, snakes and snappers, some residents cross the border into neighboring states to get their fireworks fix.
Consumer fireworks like bottle rockets, firecrackers and roman candles are illegal in Illinois. But this Fourth of July weekend, people are sure to hear some of their neighbors setting off fireworks were bought from neighboring states.
B.J. Knight, manager of Phantom Fireworks in Herculaneum, Mo., just south of St. Louis, said up to 70 percent of his customers around the Independence Day holiday are from Illinois.
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“Go out to the parking lot and you’ll see almost all the cars will be from Illinois,” Knight said.
Knight said some people from Illinois spend up to a $1,000, but the average is about $300.
“We have everything. We’ve got single shot tubes, we’ve got firecrackers, we’ve got all kinds of assortments. Three-hundred dollars can get you quite the nice show for your backyard,” Knight said.
State Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, said neighboring Indiana also gets Illinois business. Rose has pushed to legalize fireworks in Illinois.
“And last time I checked we could use some jobs and some sales taxes here in Illinois so this is economic development, it’s about tax revenues to the bottom line of the state treasury and first and foremost it’s about individual liberty and personal freedom,” Rose said.
Rose said legal fireworks would generate millions.
“Actually at all of our budget meetings I keep bringing up the fact that we can probably find $15 million pretty easily,” he said.
Rose said people also cross the border into neighboring states for cheaper tobacco, alcohol and gas and that’s revenue Illinois is missing out on.
Violating Illinois’ Pyrotechnic Use Act could result in one year in prison and up to a $2,500 fine.