Illinois lawmakers propose tax hike on alcohol

Illinois lawmakers are proposing a plan that will have drinkers crying in their beer.

A 21 percent tax hike on alcohol is now on the table. The state already has the highest beer tax rate in the region.

Currently, half the cost of an alcoholic beverage in Illinois is taxes.

"Consumers are taxed enough and it's concerning to us that the state and other jurisdictions keep going to the same well," said Tanya Triche Dawood, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association Vice President.

The alcohol tax on beer, cider, wine and liquor will generate an additional $70 million dollars for the state.

Illinois craft brewers took a shot at the proposal Friday, speaking at one of the city's most popular watering holes, the original Billy Goat Tavern.

"We all have families, we all have mouths to feed, especially our own, and another tax on top of what we're already doing just isn't the answer for us," said Charles St. Clair, co-owner of Black Horizon Brewing Company in Willowbrook.

Gerrit Lewis, the co-owner of Pipeworks Brewing in Chicago, illustrated the new tax that will be applied to each gallon of beer produced.

"We still pay over 50-thousand dollars currently in Illinois excise tax, in addition to the federal tax and an increase here would be looking to add at least $10,000 dollars to what we currently pay," Lewis said.

Illinois beer drinkers already pay a 56 percent tax on every beer they purchase. They are federal, state and city taxes passed on to the consumer.