Illinois has the highest state and local tax burden in the country, according to a recent report by a personal finance website.
On March 14, WalletHub released its annual ranking of each state’s tax burden, with Illinois ranking the worst in the nation.
The report indicates that the median Illinois household pays $8,162 in annual state and local taxes, including sales taxes, property taxes and income taxes. Median households were taxed at 14.67 percent, according to the report.
Feeling the pinch of carrying an even heavier tax burden, voters stood up and said no to more by voting this week against expanding the sales tax for previously exempt services, such as public safety.
“I believe the public supports law enforcement and public safety, but they have now said loud and clear that sales taxes are not the way they want to pay for it," St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly told the Record. "The needs are there and everyone agrees what those needs are, but the deep misgivings and anxieties most folks have about all levels of government right now means they are reluctant to take that step."
Residents in St. Clair County and Madison County voted against three separate 1-cent sales tax proposals that would have gone toward public safety and for school improvements.
Since many public safety and law enforcement projects need to be funded, Kelly said everyone needs to come up creative alternatives to a sales tax.
“So, we all, citizens and public servants alike, have a lot of work to do together to come up with new solutions, because we cannot allow our public safety institutions to deteriorate and fall behind where they need to be,” Kelly said.
Lawmakers also had looked at a potential tax on sugary drinks, but withdrew the proposal following a backlash.
“A beverage tax was originally included in the budget, but as of now it is no longer under consideration,” Claudia Rodriguez, spokesperson for the Illinois Coalition Against Beverage Taxes, told the Record. “Lawmakers understood a beverage tax was a regressive policy measure that would result in negative economic consequences for Illinois residents. We are actively working with lawmakers to keep a beverage tax out of consideration.”