-By Warner Todd Huston
Last month I noted that the Illinois state legislature is still pushing yet another tax to bedevil its already over taxed citizenry with the plan to push a tax on satellite TV providers. That plan has not abated.Unfortunately, it is just another example of Illinois burdening it citizens because of the failure of the politicians.
Recently Illinois State Representative Art Turner (D-09) floated the idea of taxing satellite TV insisting that a five percent tax would raise upwards of $110 million in new revenue a year. Turner’s current bill isn’t the first time Illinois legislators have tried to push this idea.
The same sort of bill was passed by the legislature in 2012, but was never signed into law.
At that time, state Sen. Dale Righter correctly noted that the idea was just a stealth tax increase on consumers. “They’re going to pass it right on” to satellite customers, he said.
The failure in 2012 didn’t end the attempts to make TV viewing more expensive in the Land of Lincoln.
A group named Stop the TV Tax notes that a tax such as this has already been rejected in 23 states. The group goes on to say that the tax “unfairly punish families living in rural and lower income parts of the country where only satellite TV chooses to go, as well as the many families who depend on foreign language programming offered only by satellite TV.”
Little has changed with this 2015 proposal. State Rep. Terri Bryant, (R-Murphysboro) calls the tax “unfair” for that reason–that many rural customers have no other choice but to subscribe to satellite.
“You can’t just tax people who have no other option,” Bryant said earlier this year. “We are taxed to death and a new tax that doesn’t give value to anything tangible, I would not be willing to support.”
Kristina Rasmussen of the Illinois Policy Institute agrees.
“Imagine paying a higher tax rate,” Rasmussen says, “if you received your salary via direct deposit instead of a check. Or paying taxes on chocolate ice cream but not vanilla. The same thing goes with TV service: Consumers shouldn’t have to pay higher taxes just because they use satellite instead of cable, or vice versa.”
Rasmussen also points out that with the recent election of the state’s first Republican governor for years, “Illinois didn’t vote for tax hikes.” She concluded saying, “politicians have no mandate to engage in more tax-hiking nonsense.”
In a recent report, Illinois ranked among the bottom ten states for taxpayer return on tax investment. The slew of new tax ideas being floated in Springfield are not going to make Illinois any more desirable as a place to live and work.