skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Air pollution linked to coal plants more deadly than previously thought; Israel-Hamas truce extends as aid reaches Gaza; high school seniors face big college application challenges.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

House Republicans differ on January 6th footage, Speaker Johnson says any Ukraine funding must include changes to border policy and former New Jersey Governor Christie says former President Trump is fueling anti-Semitism and hate.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Rural low income youth, especially boys, experience greater economic mobility than those in cities, a new government rule should help level the playing field for small poultry growers, and the Kansas Governor wants her state to expand Medicaid.

Illinois Grocery Tax Makes Controversial Comeback

play audio
Play

Friday, June 9, 2023   

Most Illinois residents will soon be paying the one-percent state sales tax on their groceries again.

Governor JB Pritzker's temporary tax relief is set to expire July 1 following a one-year suspension. It covered what the state refers to as "low-rate" grocery items, not the "high-rate" foods and beverages taxed at the full 6.25%.

Manuel Villaneuva, western regional director for Restaurant Opportunities Center United, a nonprofit advocating for workers in the restaurant industry, said the return of the 1% tax can be tough for the low-wage workforce, as pay is still relatively low since the pandemic, even as Illinois rents continue to climb.

He pointed out inflation is not making things any easier.

"Those little pennies on the dollar -- once you go to the grocery store -- for a family of four that is an average of $500 every two weeks," Villaneuva observed. "That can be really detrimental for their expenses."

Although many believe exempting groceries from state sales tax bases has a progressive effect, research from the Tax Foundation suggests it is not the case. It called grocery exemptions a middle-income, not a low-income, benefit, noting middle earners can more efficiently recoup the expense through grocery tax credits.

There is always some confusion about low-tax-rate versus high-tax-rate foods, based on the state's guidelines for what qualifies as a "prepared" food product.

Villanueva covers California and Minnesota as well as Illinois, and asserted although all states tax prepared foods, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish what is considered a "prepared" food.

"The only thing that I've heard of is maybe like a service charge for service workers and food workers, but never a tax on food," Villanueva emphasized. "If something like this were to happen in Illinois, you know, it would spark the flame. It's not sustainable for a lot of states, and it's not fair."

For people located within the Illinois Regional Transportation Authority or Metro-East Mass Transit District, the 1% local tax on food was never suspended. Thirty-seven states do not tax groceries at all, and of the 13 states doing so, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas and Oklahoma provide a tax credit or rebate to offset costs for lower-income households.

Disclosure: Restaurant Opportunities Center United contributes to our fund for reporting on Civil Rights, Human Rights/Racial Justice, Livable Wages/Working Families, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
more stories
Based on current environmental impacts, residents of Petersburg have a life expectancy 10 years lower than the national average, according to U.S. News & World Report. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a plan extending a natural-gas pipeline in Virginia. The Virginia Reliability Plan and Transcot's …


Social Issues

play sound

Today is Giving Tuesday, a day when millions of Americans are expected to make charitable donations. But it can also be a field day for scammers…

Health and Wellness

play sound

Starting Friday, North Carolinians will have greater access to health care as the long-awaited Medicaid expansion is launched. Medicaid will …


Democrats' trust in the media has fallen 12 points over the past year, to 58%, and compares with 11% among Republicans and 29% among independents, according to Gallup. (Christian Schwier/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

A new project in Southern Arizona aims to support local reporting and enable greater access to local news and information. Earlier this month…

Social Issues

play sound

As the weather turns colder, two groups of people in one North Dakota city that are generations apart appear to be in good shape to navigate housing …

Social Issues

play sound

Illinois high school seniors have new hurdles to overcome to get to college. High school students are waiting several extra weeks to get their hands …

Environment

play sound

Clean-energy companies and supporters are calling on federal officials to prioritize the development of charging infrastructure for EV powered medium …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021