Rising prices cost Illinoisans $522 more for groceries this year

Rising prices cost Illinoisans $522 more for groceries this year

Inflation sends grocery prices rising at the fastest rate since April 1979, costing the average Illinoisan $522 more at checkout.

Illinoisans are paying $522 more for the same grocery items they bought last year.

Prices on food for home consumption have risen by 12.2% from June 2021 to June 2022, hitting Illinois families hard. June’s overall 9.1% annual inflation rate was the highest in more than 40 years, creating sticker shock at the grocery store.

Not all grocery groups have risen at the same rate. Of the major expenditure categories, meats, poultry, fish and eggs make up the largest chunk of the increase in grocery bills and will cost the typical Illinoisan $115 more this year.

Cereals and bakery products – such as bread and rolls – will cost Illinoisans $75 more this year than last. They will also spend $59 more on fruits and vegetables; $58 more on nonalcoholic beverages; and $54 more on dairy products. When you include other items such as spices, condiments, cooking oils and other packaged goods, these items will tack on an additional $163 to Illinois grocery bills. Rising grocery prices disproportionately affect lower-income Illinoisans, who spend larger shares of their incomes on essentials.

The $522 rise in grocery bills for Illinoisans this year dwarfs the savings from Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s push to suspend the state’s 1% sales tax on groceries. The temporary suspension of the grocery tax, which Pritzker has forced grocers to advertise during his reelection campaign, will save the typical Illinoisan less than $50 based on today’s prices. While Illinoisans will welcome this small relief, taxpayers in a majority of states benefit from groceries being exempt from taxation. Only 13 other states charge a sales tax on grocery items.

Making matters worse, exorbitant prices in the supermarket could be here to stay as prices continue to rise beyond expectations. Many economists forecast a prolonged period of high inflation, and the Federal Reserve will likely be prompted to continue interest rate hikes. For Illinoisans, this presents an unpleasant tradeoff: continued high inflation or an increase in unemployment because of rising interest rates.

Neither scenario will be friendly for Illinoisans, however they appear unavoidable as record spending and wide-spread federal stimulus coupled with supply chain disruptions and pent-up demand from COVID-19 have created our current inflationary environment.

Illinois faces an additional economic challenge from a proposed amendment to the Illinois Constitution. Public worker unions are pushing Amendment 1, which would make union power nearly untouchable in Illinois and is projected to increase average property taxes $2,100 or more as a result of taxpayers being forced to fund greater government union demands.

Voters Nov. 8 will decide whether to grant union powers no other state allows, or whether to curb additional unwelcome tax hikes.

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