Illinois again taxing your groceries starting July 1

Illinois again taxing your groceries starting July 1

Illinoisans will notice more expensive food July 1 when Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s election-year suspension of the grocery tax expires. Only Illinois and 12 other states will tax groceries then.

Grocery prices are going up in Illinois on July 1 after an election-year tax suspension ends. State lawmakers pondered making the break permanent, but the majority refused to join the other 37 states that don’t tax groceries at all.  

Among the 10 most populous states, Illinois is the only one with a grocery tax. States that tax groceries make up roughly 18% of the population. 

Gov. J.B. Pritzker suspended the 1% tax in his election-year budget, which ends June 30. Pritzker also delayed the state gas tax hike for six months. The automatic gas tax hike returned Jan. 1 and another hits July 1, for a total increase of 6.2 cents per gallon in 2023. The gas tax was 19 cents a gallon before Pritzker took office, raised it and built in automatic increases that take it to 45.4 cents on July 1.

A one-year grocery tax suspension did little for people when inflation ate so much of family budgets. Pritzker claimed the pause was only possible because of fiscal responsibility. In reality, Illinois had $1.2 billion in federal aid, which will run out in the new fiscal year that starts July 1. 

Among the 13 states that tax groceries, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Utah and Oklahoma all offer a credit or rebate to offset costs for low-income households. Food prices aren’t expected to spike as much as they did in 2022, but 2023 inflation will still be historically high, anywhere from 4.9% to 7.5%.

Earlier this year, state Sen. Donald DeWitte, R-St. Charles, introduced legislation repealing the grocery tax, but the bill died in committee.

If roughly 82% of Americans are not subjected to taxes in the grocery aisle, why should Illinois residents be included?

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