If a state senator gets her way, you’ll be paying an additional 12 cents tax -- on top of the existing sales tax -- for can of soda, something the state’s Beverage Association says would hit working Illinois families the hardest.
Democratic state Senator Mattie Hunter will hold a press conference Wednesday at which she’s expected to push for a penny-per-ounce tax on soda and other sugary drinks.
Most of the money generated would go to the Illinois Wellness Fund to be used to expand obesity prevention programs.
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Illinois Beverage Association’s Executive Director Jim Soreng says the tax won’t combat obesity.
“In terms of this tax’s ability to impact obesity, it’s negligible … at best,” Soreng said.
Soreng said the tax would be a jobs killer.
“It’s a fairly simple economic principle that if less of something is sold it takes less people to actually produce,” Soreng said.
Soreng said it makes no sense to increase taxes to fund new or expand existing programs while the state is hurting financially.
“This is not how you grow yourself out of an economic problem,” Soreng said. “This is how you further enhance one.”
Soreng said the association and other groups are providing more resources encouraging healthy lifestyles, and that’s without the added tax.
Hunter’s bill remains in the Senate Assignments Committee, where it’s been since February of last year. A similar measure in Chicago stalled last September.