Dry January savings: Illinois wine taxes 4x higher than New York, California

Dry January savings: Illinois wine taxes 4x higher than New York, California

Illinois’ excise tax on wine is more than 4 times higher than the same bottle in New York or California. Buying in Chicago adds extra tax layers, hitting 6 times the taxes of other big cities.

Illinoisans looking to save calories by abstaining from alcohol during “dry January” will also save some cash by foregoing a glass of wine at home.

Illinois taxes wine at $1.39 per gallon. At the local level, Cook County adds another $0.24 per gallon if it’s up to 14% alcohol by volume and Chicago adds another $0.36.

The other two biggest metropolitan areas in the country, New York City and Los Angeles, both tax wine at a fraction of Illinois rates: $0.30 for NYC and $0.20 per gallon for LA. California is tied with Texas for the lowest per-gallon rate in the country.

States with similar populations tend to have similar tax patterns. For example, Illinois, California and New York are within one-tenth of a percent when it comes to combined state and local sales taxes. But California and New York aren’t as harsh to wine drinkers’ wallets, nor are their biggest cities.

Illinois’ tax revenue from wine hasn’t even kept up with inflation. From fiscal years 2014 to 2023, state wine tax revenue grew a meager $10 million.

Springfield lawmakers should look to real pension reform instead of regressive sin taxes to fix the state’s financial problems. Illinoisans should be left to fix their bad habits at their own discretion.

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