Shoe Lovers Beware: The Sneaker Tax Cometh

February 12, 2013 — Leave a comment
Credit: The Kina's Blog

Credit: The Kina’s Blog

Do you like rockin’ fly kicks?  Well if you live an Illinois, then you might get stuck with an extra 25 cent tax on any shoe designed for athletic activity.  Yes, that includes your flashy Nike high tops.

Forbes.com contributor Kelly Phillips reports that “Rep. Will Davis (D-Hazel Crest), who introduced the bill, believes the tax to be a no-brainer since ‘I don’t see how an additional 25 cents on a pair of tennis shoes should be a challenge.’”
The bill is designed to help the non-profit Youth Build, which seeks to provide employment opportunities for disadvantaged or at-risk youth.  Declining federal, state and local budgets have crippled the organization’s funding, leading them to seek new revenue sources.  If enacted, the bill would generate $3 million/year for the charity.

The “sneak attack tax”, as some are calling it, faces steep conservative opposition state-wide and nationally. Former senator and radio talk show host Fred Thomson tweeted:

The Illinois Retail Merchants Association is also opposed.  “We don’t like product-specific taxes.  Taxes should be broad-based,” said Vice President Rob Karr.

In response to retailer concerns, Davis says, “it’s not [the bill’s] intent to put any undue burden on retailers,” although under the proposed legislation sneaker stores would have to file a special return each month to the Illinois Department of Revenue.

The fate of the sneaker tax rests in the Illinois House of Representatives; if it dies, lawmakers may look into re-allocating funds to help the Youth Build Coalition.

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