Illinois residents and tourists will soon have to pay more bucks per bottle if the General Assembly gets away with nearly doubling the state excise tax on alcohol — a tax rate that is already among the highest in the nation. With millions being spent to boost tourism in hopes of winning a 2016 Summer Olympic bid, now is the worst time to hamstring consumers and hospitality businesses with increased taxes on alcohol.
Policymakers need to understand that a tax on alcohol is a tax on the entire hospitality industry. As our sour economy discourages people from going out to eat at restaurants or purchasing a bottle of bourbon at the store, businesses suffer. In fact, Illinois’ hospitality industry has already seen more than 18,700 jobs disappear in the last 12 months due to the recession, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Employment Statistics.