New liquor tax will soak up profits for businesses like Grant Importing & Distributing, owner says
Dan Granato fumes that after 53 years of owning his own liquor business in Illinois, things have not gotten any easier.
“With Springfield, it’s never about cutting spending or finding and cutting loopholes in the process,” Granato, owner of Grant Importing & Distributing Co., Inc., told West Cook News. “It’s always just tax, tax, tax and tax some more.”
Granato’s latest struggles stem from Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s plan to impose a tax increase of as much as 50 percent on distilled liquor, wine and beer as part of his overall $41.5 billion, six-year capital plan. Pritzker’s proposal also includes a gas tax hike, a vehicle registration increase and a new 7 percent tax on cable, satellite and streaming services.
“They just keep adding on and adding on,” Granato said.“It’s just really frustrating. I’m a small company and it definitely makes it harder to survive as a business.”
And in Granato’s mind, all of it may be for nothing, or at the very least nowhere near the $120 million in new revenue that supporters of the plan project from the imposition of the tax.
“I don’t know where they think all this money will come from,” he said. “I’ve been in business a long time. This is a pretty hefty raise and other states will benefit from it as we lose business to them. We’ve already got one of the highest tax rates on liquors in the country. And now, no one’s going to eat this. These costs will have to be passed on.”
Presently, Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois president Bob Myers estimates that Illinois loses a “bare minimum” of $8 million annually to cross-border alcohol purchases.