Tax increases will cost back-to-school shoppers in Illinois
Illinois parents will pay the Midwest’s highest sales taxes on back-to-school shopping.
As summer winds down, families across the nation are gearing up to send their children back to school. The average family will spend nearly $690 on back-to-school items in 2017, according to the National Retail Federation, or NRF. But in Illinois, high sales taxes will cost families even more.
Illinois’ combined state and average local sales tax rate of 8.64 percent is the highest in the Midwest and the seventh highest in the nation. That means a family spending $690 on new clothes, electronics and supplies will spend nearly $60 more in sales taxes.
Back-to-school shoppers in two neighboring states, Iowa and Missouri, may not have to pay state sales tax at all. Iowa and Missouri are among more than a dozen states that participate in a tax-free holiday during the first weekend in August, waiving state sales taxes on items such as clothes, books, school supplies and electronics, according to a report by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation.
In Cook County, officials from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees pitched a 25 percent sales tax increase. Chicago, which is home to over half of Cook County’s population, already has a whopping 10.25 percent combined sales tax.
These taxes are especially harmful as Illinois is home to some of the nation’s worst income growth. Personal income in Illinois grew by only 0.6 percent in the first quarter of 2017, placing Illinois 45th out of 50 states for income growth. Additionally, the new 32 percent income tax hike will set Illinois income growth back an entire year.
For those in Chicago, back-to-school shoppers must also remember to drag along their own bags – or else pay a 7-cents per bag tax. And if they’re driving, they might pay $13 for two hours of on-street parking (the highest in the nation), or an average of $22 for two hours in a garage or lot (the third highest in the nation).
Illinois’ high taxes are a burden on families, not only at the start of the school year, but in nearly every aspect of their lives. Sales taxes, income taxes and some of the highest property taxes in the nation are driving people away. Illinois needs dramatic reforms if the state is to see these families come back.