Here’s a tough pill to swallow: Illinois boasts the highest tax burden in the Midwest, and near the highest nationwide. Many of these taxes have been implemented or raised by politicians to try and help relieve the burden of the Illinois government’s over-the-top spending and deep deficits. Most people naturally think about income taxes or property taxes when this topic is broached. Unfortunately, Illinois’ property taxes are exorbitant and just over one year ago, the Illinois legislature raised the income tax rate. But there are MANY other taxes, some of which are stealth-like. Let’s walk through some of the other, less conspicuous yet every bit as heavy additional taxes and how they affect the citizens of Illinois.
The Amusement Tax
Having fun costs those in Chicago a little bit more thanks to the infamous Amusement Tax. This tax causes Chicago-dwellers to cough up an additional 9% of added tax on things that they deem “amusements.” This includes sporting events, concerts, and even at-home streaming services. Most recently, this tax was added to PlayStation users. The Amusement Tax now also will affect services like PlayStation Plus and Music.
Cell Phone Taxes
As of 2018, Illinois had the highest wireless phone service tax rate in the whole country. This rate clocked in right at 27.6%. Many cell phone providers are offering lower prices and better deals recently, but sadly those of us here in Illinois are less and less likely to see the benefits of it due to the ever-rising tax on the service. This percentage on a standard cell phone bill adds hundreds of dollars a year to the consumer’s expenses.
In addition to the Federal taxes on alcohol, Illinois levies some pretty high taxes on alcohol purchases. While many consumers won’t see this tax reflected directly on their receipt, they can feel it in the form of raised alcohol prices overall. On top of the regular state sales tax of 6.25%, and the applicable local sales tax, there is an $8.55 per gallon tax on liquor, $0.23 per gallon on beer, and $1.39 per gallon on wine. The added liquor tax is the 3rd highest in the country. These heightened prices will often encourage consumers who live near a border state to venture over into Indiana, Wisconsin, or otherwise to purchase their alcohol.
Following states like Pennsylvania and California, Illinois has the eighth highest automobile fuel tax in the country, as of July 2018, according to the Tax Foundation. As of late year, some Illinois mayors have banded together to call for an additional gas tax hike of around 20 cents, ostensibly to pay for certain infrastructure improvements, including a proposed transportation bill. That may be a good idea – if Illinois wasn’t also adding state sales tax to gas purchases too. Illinois has the dubious honor of being one of the only states to double tax gas purchases.
Now here’s the real bad thing. I’m sure that we here in the Land of Lincoln will continue to see tax hikes and various fee increases across the state as lawmakers try to figure out a way to make up for unprioritized spending and outrageously lavish and expensive public pension payments. No wonder Illinois’s population continues to decline as citizens look for relief from the stifling taxes.