Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HR0116
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Full Text of HR0116  100th General Assembly




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2    WHEREAS, Families have already suffered catastrophic
3damages as a result of the budget impasse and, according to the
4Pew Center, a food and drug tax is the most regressive tax that
5punishes citizens on a fixed income; and
6    WHEREAS, In 2015, there were a total of 160,569,757 retail
7prescription drugs filled at pharmacies in Illinois; and
8    WHEREAS, Prescription drug prices increased 12.6% in 2014,
9outpacing inflation; increasing taxes for prescription drugs
10will become more financially straining for Illinois residents,
11especially since 8.8% of Illinois senior citizens live in
12poverty; and
13    WHEREAS, According to the Consumer Healthcare Products
14Association, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are a reliable
15and affordable way of maintaining wellness for millions of
16American families; and
17    WHEREAS, OTC medicines not only treat the symptoms of
18common ailments but also help prevent a number of costly
19chronic conditions through products like smoking cessation
20programs; and



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1    WHEREAS, The average American household spends
2approximately $185 on non-prescribed OTC medicines per year
3while the average senior citizen spends $356 yearly; and
4    WHEREAS, Many states have already acknowledged the
5therapeutic value and cost-effectiveness of OTC medicines and
6allow a retail sales tax exemption for the purchase of these
7products; Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York,
8Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, and the District
9of Columbia do not levy sales taxes on OTC medicines; and
10    WHEREAS, The value of OTC medicines in the United States
11found that OTC medicines offer $102 billion in annual savings
12relative to available alternatives; and
13    WHEREAS, The Consumer Healthcare Products Association
14advocates for policies that support access to OTC medicines by
15exempting them from sales tax; and
16    WHEREAS, Food security is an issue that places an enormous
17burden on struggling families within Illinois; and
18    WHEREAS, According to the Illinois Commission to End
19Hunger, almost 1.7 million Illinois residents still face food
20insecurity, a number greater than the entire populations of
21Hawaii, Montana, and 10 other states; and



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1    WHEREAS, According to the Illinois Commission to End
2Hunger, more than 449,000 low-income Illinois children
3participate in the National School Lunch Program but do not
4receive school breakfast; it is increasingly vital that food in
5the State be at a reasonable price; and
6    WHEREAS, The lowest-income Americans spent an average of
7$3,667 on food in 2014, which amounts to 31.4% of their income
8according to the United States Department of Agriculture; and
9    WHEREAS, For a family of four living on $2,000 a month, to
10spend 34% of their income on food would equate to $8,160 a
11year; and
12    WHEREAS, The states with the highest taxes on food,
13Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alabama, had the highest rate of
14food insecurity in 2014; and
15    WHEREAS, Illinois may also lose tax revenue to bordering
16states; if Illinois increases taxes on food and drug, residents
17may drive to Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and Kentucky to purchase
18those goods, causing additional harm to our economy; and
19    WHEREAS, According to U.S. News and World Report, taxing
20groceries and prescription drugs shifts the state's focus on



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1the real issues, which should be alleviating the barriers for
2quality food and necessary medications for low-income
3citizens; and
4    WHEREAS, In Illinois, the bottom 20% have an average income
5of $10,900 yet pay 13.2% of their income to taxes; Illinois is
6currently ranked third for the highest taxes on the poor
7according to the Institution of Taxation and Economic Policy;
9    WHEREAS, A tax on food and prescriptions drugs is fiscally
10damaging to middle-class families because their average income
11in $49,500 yet 10.8% goes toward taxes; and
12    WHEREAS, Expanding taxes on food and drugs
13disproportionately hurts lower-income families further
14resulting in a higher rate of food insecurity; and
15    WHEREAS, Senior citizens and children are most affected by
16food insecurity and drug prices; therefore, be it
19believe that sales taxes on food and drugs should not be