Illinois Lawmakers Consider Excise Tax On Soft Drinks

SRPINGFIELD, Ill. (WBBM/CBS) — Illinois lawmakers are considering a bill that would add an excise tax to soda pop.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Brian Seay reports, the state would use the revenue to create an “obesity fund” that would help to “diminish the human and economic costs of obesity in the State of Illinois,” according to the proposed amendment.

A series of hearings is being held to determine the merits of the tax and subsequent fund. The state Senate Public Health Committee heard testimony Tuesday from both sides of the argument.

“A recent study from the University of California at Berkeley demonstrated that increased consumption of sugar sweetened beverages relates to an increase in weight gain,” said Elissa Bassler with the Illinois Public Health Institute. “Between 1997 and 2007, the percentage of total calories from total beverages increased from 14.2 percent to 21 percent. Evidence consistently points to sugary beverages triggering increased obesity rates.”

Bassler points to increased obesity rates among Illinois adults from 16.7 percent in1995 to 27.4 percent in 2009. But Tim Bramlet with the Illinois Beverage Association, a lobbying firm for soda pop companies, says pop is a small part of the obesity epidemic.

“Sugar sweetened beverages make up seven percent of the average American’s diet,” said Bramlet. “That means that Americans get 93 percent of their calories from products other than sugar sweetened soft drinks.”

Bramlet says soda sales have also dipped over the last decade, by about 12 percent, while adult and child obesity rates have increased in the same period. He says eight states repealed taxes like this in the 1990s, and that no state has enacted one since 1992.

State Sen. William Delgado (D-Chicago) is sponsoring the bill SB396. Delgado says he’d like to hear more from both sides before the bill gets a vote in the Public Health Committee.

The City of Chicago already imposes a tax on soft drinks. Retailers are charged a 3 percent tax on their gross receipts for soft drink sales, which they may pass onto consumers.

Taxes on soft drinks have been a hot-button issue nationwide for years. A widely-seen ad mounted by the American Beverage Association, which has been running for more than a year, shows complains that by taxing soda and other beverages, government is “trying to control what we eat and drink,” and, “the government just getting too involved in our personal lives.”


    My or my,Is it ever going to stop?City tax,State tax, Federal tax,the land of taxes. I’m surprised the political dimwits in this state aren’t taxing the air we breath,that will be next. Raise the tax on soft drinks because we are all getting too fat. Just how stupid do these idiots think we are? As dumb as them? And the wheel goes around,and around,and around.

  • Macky

    Why not increase the tax on toliet paper next? It’s bad enough that no business wants to move into Illinois. Now this? Love how we still have tolls but yet our highways our falling apart compared to bigger/smaller states with the same weather conditions but no tolls. We should be saying “COME TO ILLINOIS AND MAKE LESS BECAUSE WE TAX YOU EVERY POSSIBLE WAY!!”

  • nancy

    I thought this was a free country…..what gives the politicians in Illinois or for that matter in Washington, DC the right to dictate to us what we can and cannot put in our bodies…….as for Illinois this is one of Quinn’s ideas (including the Obese Tax and who is going to monitor that brilliant idea). Where are all our lawyers who would have the ability to start the removal petitions……WE MUST REMOVE THIS INCOMPETENT PERSON NOW!!!


      The state and county workers and their families, whom all voted for Quinn, gave them this power.

      • Mr. Justice

        AND don’t forget the people on welfare who continue to take from the government yet do not contribute anything to society. They also voted for this moron we call Governor.

  • mazuba

    it is time for a tea party, wait make that a soft drink party. Enough of the taxes I can’t afford anymore. It is time to move out of state, which i will do!

    • Mr. Justice

      Good for you. Unfortunately, I am unable to move at this time due to my present economic situation. But I am happy that you are moving and will be able to save thousands of dollars in taxes. Congratulations.



  • Keith Clauson

    Dumbocrats at their finest.

  • Dylan

    Let’s have a politician tax. The dumber they are, the more their tax goes up. (So obviously they will all max out) After they run for office, their political contributions that they did not use in running should be put in the debt pool. And let’s tax that too.

    And where is all the tax money from automobiles? If I buy a new car at 30K and pay 2500 in tax, then I sell that car, and the next guy that buys it pays a tax at about 1200, and then he sells the car and the next guy pays 800. So if it averages about 4000 per the life of the car, multiply that by how many cars are bought and sold, then ask yourself, “Where is the money.?”


      Forty cents out of every dollar collected in Cook county goes to “retired” employees for their pensions and health benefits. The fund is bankrupt, and you think things are bad now?

  • Tony Godsey

    didnt we have a war cause of tax on tea?

    • Mr. Justice

      Yes, we did. Remember these famous words of Thomas Jefferson, “THE TREE OF LIBERTY MUST BE REFRESHED FROM TIME TO TIME WITH THE BLOOD OF PATRIOTS AND TYRANTS.” I don’t know about you, but I am getting sick of the taxes we pay here in Illinois. I believe it is time for the “tax paying citizens” to stand up and say enough!

  • knappydawg

    Somebody votes for Quinn but I can’t get anyone to admit it!! How about a tax on stupid?? That would bring in lots of cash from Springfield!!



  • Violet

    I personally don’t drink the stuff but I can’t see putting any more taxes on an over-taxed society. How about the extra tax money they are raking in with the increase in gas prices. They state tax is a greater percentage of the of the cost of gas than what the petroleum companies make.


    The state is bankrupt and desperate for revenue. This is just another futile attempt to create another useless bureau and to fund the bottomless pit of public benefits. I did not vote for these fools, so I blame you.

  • cbailey

    Oops. Another money grab. Why should the politicians care if we get fat. It ain’t nobody’s business but our own. Another reason not to buy anything in Illinois.

  • robert murphy

    Keep putting new taxes on the working man, while giving breaks to corporations. Thanks, Big Brother.

  • uptohere

    So this means they aren’t going to tax diet soda? Of course not! Another one of these taxes under the guise of watching out for the health of us poor folks who apparently aren’t smart enaough to take care of ourselves. The only thing we’re not smart about is keeping these jokers in office. Thank you, sir(s), may I have another.

  • Ron Valentine

    Taxes or Death? How about taking a PAY CUT! QUINN & YOUR FRIENDS?

  • Robert Lesher

    I want to quit drinking soda pop…. thank you state of illinois.

  • dj

    They make it sound like everyone is obese, but that is not true. If people what to drink soda that is their choice. I drank it for many, many years and I am not obese. It is the choices that people make with the way they eat or maybe it is their genetic makeup. Who knows. But stop telling people what they can and cannot have or should have. They choices are theirs.

  • franklin808

    It sounds like a good idea. I used to weigh 350 pounds but I am now down to 250. However, I make a lot of money and could well afford to pay the tax. The tax would be good for poor people.

    • Mr. Justice

      YOU ARE AN IDIOT! Perhaps next, they will tax something you really care about. The tax money does not get to poor people.

  • yearight

    All you folks that said rah,rah,rah to the extreme cigarette tax and no smoking laws. All of you were told your turn was coming. Give these people on opening and boom. Well quit crying,you fools opened the door. I cant wait for the excise tax on a round of golf and then an hour of court time at the tennis club. Then youll need a license plate for your bike and pay a tax to ride it. Its all coming and guess what it all started with the “me” generation. Hooray for me and up everybody elses. You asked for it.

  • yea right

    Franklin, you actually sound unAmerican. Good for poor people!!! Are you kidding? Wow,sheeple. Just because someone is poor doesn’t give you the right to run their lives.(no matter how much money you make)

  • Larry Polte

    This is what Democrats do- SPEND&TAX, yet the ignorant people in Cook County keep putting them back in office. This state has to have the highest amount of dummies than any other state except for California…….

    • Jim

      The Democrats in this state work the “pay to play” model to a tee. Pay the lower class off with tax money from the middle class to support their upper class (many, but not all, unions and all politicians) luxurious lifestyles. The middle class needs to have a revolution in this state and take back what’s ours. If there were a law that did not allow unions to touch any tax dollars (which I would LOVE) the Democrats would get virtually no votes.

  • gjstanl

    If you dont like it, get off your *** and contact this idiot:

    @franklin808 I weigh 175 lbs and could use some extra money to pay for more food to increase my weight. I’m sure you could well afford to send me some money for food…Your argument is crazier than this proposed legislation.

  • Jim

    I drink soda and do not have a weight problem. Why not reduce taxes and fix the congested roads so people have more time to work out? Right now us “normal folk” have to work extra hours for the luxury to work in the most corrupt state in the nation! On top of that we’re stuck on the road for a long time due to the roads being so poorly managed. Fix the root cause, AKA PUBLIC CORRUPTION, and the state will fix itself.

  • Barbara

    So, suagr free sodas wouldn’t be taxed?

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