Illinois Lawmaker Proposes Athletic Shoe Tax

CHICAGO, IL (KPLR)– An Illinois lawmaker is proposing a special tax on the purchase of athletic shoes.

But having recently added new state taxes to the sale of tires, license plates and even admission charges at strip clubs, many think another special tax is taking things a step too far.

“We think it is a very bad idea, we think it is not one that customers will like,” said David Vite, President and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association. ‘We think it would put us out of conformity with sales tax laws around the country and frankly it will cost more than it will generate.’

That`s because the proposed tax is only 25 cents per purchase.  

The sponsor is Rep. Will Davis, a democrat from Hazel Crest, Illinois, which is just south of Chicago.

Davis` idea is for the money to go to Youthbuild,  a program that helps low income kids learn job skills building affordable housing.

But what about keeping athletic shoes affordable?

“Things are rough right now and people are struggling and an additional tax will really hurt shoe sales, especially on athletic shoes,” said Erica Otis, a resident of Belleville.

But once informed of how the money would be used, she had a change of heart.  

“If it is to help out our youth and help the kids make something out of themselves, I am all for it,” she said.

One big question sure to enter the debate, assuming the bill even gets debated, is what exactly is and is not an athletic shoe?

FOX 2 tried to reach Davis to ask him but he did not return our call.

The Youthbuild program has chapters all over the country, and lists 18 in Illinois,  including one in Godfrey and another in East St. Louis.

Friend me on Facebook:  facebook.com/PaulSchankmanTV
Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/PaulSchankmantv
Email me:  Paul.Schankman@tvstl.com