Andrew Chesney


Andrew Chesney


It’s Time to Eliminate Illinois’ Sales Tax on Groceries

As a public official, I have always fought to lower taxes for my constituents. From my time on the Freeport City Council to my tenure in the Illinois House of Representatives to my current role as the State Senator for the 45th District in Northwest Illinois, lightening the tax burden for Illinoisans has always been a focal point of my legislative agenda. When Governor JB Pritzker recently announced he wanted to eliminate the state sales tax on groceries, I was surprised, but also encouraged.

It is no secret that I rarely agree with the Governor, but on the issue of the grocery tax, we may have found common ground. The grocery tax, which brings in about $350 million per year, is a regressive tax that is overly punitive to the middle class, the working poor, and those living below the poverty line. Illinois is one of only a few states that taxes groceries, and I am pleased to know there is bipartisan interest in eliminating that tax this year.

Seldom have I seen during my six years in the General Assembly an appetite by Governor JB Pritzker and his Democrat allies to cut anything. And while their spend and tax mentality is as strong as ever, eliminating the grocery tax is a definite step in the right direction for Illinoisans. It must be noted, however, that eliminating the grocery tax does not equate to a reduction in state spending. One hundred percent of the funds collected from this tax are sent to municipalities across the state.

Eliminating the grocery tax undeniably impacts local governments that rely on those funds to help balance their budgets. For that reason, Republicans are imploring the Pritzker administration to come to the table to work on a solution that helps municipalities without adding new local taxes to the mix. Simply punting the ball to local governments and encouraging them to raise taxes locally is not the solution. We need to lower taxes, not just swap a state tax for a local tax.

I believe every level of government, whether local, county, state, or federal, can do more with less and maximize the efficiency of its operations. I know state government can do much better, and I would encourage all local municipalities to embark on an initiative to identify and eliminate waste and discover other ways to become as efficient as possible with the services they provide.

It is usually the Republicans who are pushing for tax relief for Illinoisans because we believe Illinois citizens, not government bureaucrats, should have control over their money. It is not lost on us that the Governor has chosen a contentious election year to finally come around to our long-held beliefs. Whether he is being sincere or simply engaging in political gamesmanship, I intend to hold him to his pledge to do away with this tax.

The clock is ticking on the creation and adoption of the budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1, and Governor Pritzker has put $1 billion in tax hikes on the table to help pay for Democrats’ insatiable thirst for state spending. As each tax hike proposal comes before the Senate, I will be a vocal NO vote on every one of them. One vote I do look forward to this year is the opportunity to put a YES vote on the board to cut taxes for my constituents and all Illinoisans through an elimination of the grocery tax.

Share Now


Related Post