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Illinois’ moves up in ranking for highest state and local sales taxes

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(The Center Square) – The latest Tax Foundation report on sales taxes details how Illinois is now home to the highest combined state and average local sales tax in the Midwest.

Illinois’ combined state and local sales tax rate of 8.85% placed the Land of Lincoln at No. 7 nationwide in 2024. That’s up from the No. 8 spot the prior year, also with a rate of 8.85%.

Illinois state Rep. Blaine Wilhour, R-Beecher City, said the report shows how the state is going in the wrong direction.

“We’re a fiscal mess,” Wilhour told The Center Square. “That’s what it says about our state. We have unsustainable spending in our budget and our taxes are going to continue to rise. Number one, we got over 7,000 units of government and they’re all taxing and they’re all taxing way too much.”

Researchers with the Tax Foundation say the state’s combination of a state sales tax of 6.25% along with an average local sales tax rate of 2.61% also make it home to the highest state and average local sales tax rate in the Midwest. The nonpartisan group added that the state’s poor rankings largely stem from the combination of lawmakers enacting some of the highest state-level sales tax rates and the state’s relatively narrow sales tax base that spans just 26% of the economy.

Wilhour said he fears things may get worse before they get better.

“Every year in the General Assembly, we enhance pensions, we create more government, we create more bureaucracy, all of which cost taxpayers,” he said. “We need to streamline government. We need to cut government with smart consolidations and we need to fix our pension system. Until we do those things, there’s no chance of lowering taxes significantly in this state.”

With the state now steadily losing residents, especially young people looking for opportunity, Wilhour insists he doesn’t see anything changing anytime soon.

“We need new people,” Wilhour said. “We need new leadership in Springfield in order for this stuff to really get momentum.”

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