Chicago – Radio ads began running on stations throughout Chicago today criticizing a proposal — supported by City Hall — for higher taxes on the struggling hospitality/tourism industry when it is already among the highest taxed in the nation. “We are sending a clear message that a tax on alcohol is a tax on Chicago’s struggling hospitality industry. Waitresses, bartenders, cooks and small business owners will suffer under this proposal,” said Steve Riedl, Executive Director of the Illinois Licensed Beverage Association and a member of the Coalition to Save Hospitality in Chicago. Under the most recent tax proposal being considered tomorrow by the City Finance Committee, the beer tax would be increased 10 percent and the tax on wine and liquor would be increased by 23 percent. “Chicago’s alcohol taxes are already the highest in the nation and almost twice as high as the surrounding area. The city should be working to attract more tourists and conventions, not tax them out of Chicago.” The ad, supported by a broad-based group of hospitality businesses, explains that increasing hospitality taxes could result in further jobs losses among Chicago workers who are least able to afford it – waitresses, cooks and bartenders. The coalition includes the Illinois Licensed Beverage Association, Wine & Spirits Distributors of Illinois, Illinois Restaurant Association, Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association, City Wide Liquor Association, Distilled Spirits Council, Wine Institute, Coors Brewing Company, and Diageo. See attached script: SFX: Busy restaurant natural sounds in background; waitress is forced to talk louder than normal to be heard above the din… Waitress: Being a waitress is a tough job. And it could get even tougher. That’s because the City of Chicago is at it again, wanting to tax every thing that moves – and most things that don’t. On the one hand they spend millions of our tax dollars to attract tourists and conventions to Chicago to help our ailing hospitality industry…all the hotels, restaurants and bars in our city. On the other hand they want to again raise taxes on every cocktail, glass of wine or beer sold here. Don’t we already pay just about the highest alcohol taxes in the country? It’s not just a tax on alcohol. It’s a tax on the hospitality industry! Who gets hurt here? People like me! Waitresses, cooks and bartenders will lose their jobs. SFX: Background sounds end cold; waitress speaks in lower voice… Waitress: It’s going to get awfully quiet around here. It’s time to say no to hospitality taxes. Tell the tax raisers to look elsewhere. Before it’s too late. Disclaimer: A message from the Coalition to Save Hospitality in Chicago