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In Illinois, they're racing the tax man to the bar

August 31, 2009 |  5:04 pm

Drinking and saving

Got a sweet tooth to feed? Need a snack? Or a drink?

If you’re in Illinois, get ready to fork out a bit more cash starting Tuesday.

The state is rolling out a sweeping new tax law that boosts tax fees for soft drinks, candy and booze: Candy will see as much as a 6.25% tax, and tax on a six-pack of beer will increase 25%.

The money is aimed to help fund a $31-billion statewide construction plan – a plan Gov. Pat Quinn hopes will revive the state’s economy and keep more than 439,000 people employed.

Wow. That’s a lot to expect from a Snickers bar or a cold Corona. Illinois is not alone. North Carolina’s about to see a penny increase in its sales tax this week, and higher excise taxes on “sin” goods – such as cigarettes, beer, wine and liquor – to help narrow a projected budget gap.

And a number of public health experts and policy analysts have suggested that extra taxes on sugary foods and drinks can aid budget woes or fund healthcare programs. 

-- P.J. Huffstutter

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Photo: Billboards in Springfield, Ill., remind customers to buy now and save. Credit: Associated Press