Sneaker tax: Lawmaker wants new fee on gym shoes

2013-02-04T02:00:00Z Sneaker tax: Lawmaker wants new fee on gym shoes By Kurt Erickson TheSouthern SpringfieldBureau The Southern

 SPRINGFIELD— The cost of a new pair of basketball shoes could jump by 25 cents under a proposal floated this week by anIllinoislawmaker.

State Rep. Will Davis, D-Hazel Crest, wants to create a new tax that would generate an estimated $3 million annually for a youth job preparation program. He said the added cost would likely go unnoticed by most consumers, while helping finance a program for kids during tight budget times.

“Everywhere, funding is challenged,”Davissaid. “I see it as a uniquely creative way of helping youth.”

Under the proposal, consumers buying any kind of athletic shoe would pay an extra 25 cents. Proceeds from the new tax would be earmarked for the state’s YouthBuild programs

There are a handful of YouthBuild programs throughoutIllinois. InMcLeanCounty, for example, YouthBuild participants can learn basic construction skills while they build homes for low-income residents.

Davissaid he decided an athletic shoe tax would be a good fit for the YouthBuild program because younger Illinoisans are major consumers of shoes.

“Who wears athletic shoes the most? It’s probably kids,” he said.

The proposal, however, is no slam dunk.

Rob Karr, senior vice president of Illinois Retail Merchants Association, said the organization will fight the proposal because it would create an unnecessary amount of additional paperwork for store owners.

“It imposes significant administrative burdens on the retailer,” Karr said.

Imposing special taxes on specific products is not a new trend in state government. Illinoisans have been paying a $2.50 fee on tire purchases for years. There also are taxes on cigarettes, alcohol and car rentals.

Last year saw two new fees added to the state’s roster of taxes. One would add a new entry fee tax at strip clubs to pay for domestic violence programs. The other would add a new $2 fee on license plates to help finance improvements toIllinois’ financially strapped state parks.

Davis himself owns at least five pairs of shoes that may qualify — golf shoes, baseball cleats, two pairs of basketball high-tops and running shoes.

For now, the proposal is somewhat vague on exactly what constitutes an athletic shoe.

“I think that’s something we’ll need to negotiate,” Davissaid.

The legislation is House Bill 978.


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(8) Comments

  1. OLD JOE
    Report Abuse
    OLD JOE - February 04, 2013 4:33 pm
    Droifan, I'm sorry but your as silly as a bedbug. I have had 5 boys in school sports and I'm the one that had to buy their tennis-shoes. No one furnished them shoes, no discounts, and they wasn't cheap.

    Just like WAXMAN, I'm not worried about 25 cents!! It's all the new taxes Illinois is creating. The new taxes has to STOP. This year 25 cents, 10 year from now $25.
  2. WXMAN
    Report Abuse
    WXMAN - February 04, 2013 3:58 pm
    Sorry, but my son plays football and Basketball. We have to buy his shoes. The coach and team pick what style they want and they place the order. The parents pay for them. The small amount of tax here is not the's the tax itself. When does it stop? You give them 25 cents now and then it continues to climb throughout the years. Kind of like the cigarette taxes, license fees, and income tax!
  3. Ric Blaine
    Report Abuse
    Ric Blaine - February 04, 2013 2:45 pm
    I knew before reading the article that some corruptocrat clown would be the sponsor of this inane bill. Who else but a democrap would do something like this?
  4. Droidfan
    Report Abuse
    Droidfan - February 04, 2013 2:44 pm
    "Mom, I really wanna play basketball this year."
    "Sorry son, but those sneakers cost $50.25 now. If only they still cost just $50, we could afford them. No basketball for you because I don't have a quarter."

    Sorry, coal miner, but that was one of the funniest arguments I've ever read. For one thing, most kids who play school sports have their sneakers provided for them, either through the sneaker company, the school, the booster club, or fundraisers. Go to almost any sporting event and you will see that the kids all wear the same shoes, and they're usually semi-expensive pairs. They have funds available to help kids who can't afford the shoes.

    Furthermore, if a quarter is going to keep a kid from playing sports, then he has much bigger issues.

    I agree that the state has made a lot of poor decisions, and I also agree that a $.25 flat tax on every pair makes less sense than a small sales tax percentage increase, but it's not like sneakers are high volume purchases like sodas or any of the other things the state has tried to tax lately. For most families, this tax would amount to about one quarter per family member per year, or less. If a family bought 10 pairs of shoes in one year, that would still only amount to $2.50, and we're only talking about athletic shoes, not casual sneakers, dress shoes, boots, or sandals.

    Our government does a lot of things worth complaining about, but this hardly seems like one of them.
  5. OLD JOE
    Report Abuse
    OLD JOE - February 04, 2013 12:44 pm
    How low will Illinois democrat lawmakers go?
  6. KC55
    Report Abuse
    KC55 - February 04, 2013 12:39 pm
    Of course another tax that we will pay, but the money will be spent in the north.
  7. Diogenes
    Report Abuse
    Diogenes - February 04, 2013 11:26 am
    This is an inherently regressive tax. Poorer people who have to buy the low end $29 sneakers will pay a higher percentage than those who buy the $200 ones. If we are outraged about Warren Buffet's secretary paying a higher percentage than the big man himself we should take umbrage at this. ;^P
  8. coal miner
    Report Abuse
    coal miner - February 04, 2013 10:11 am
    Thats right, make it harder for low income kids to be involved in sports. Make it harder for merchants in Illinois to compete, any mail order store will move out of state. It will probably cost more to enforce this tax than the revenue the state gets out of it. We don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem!
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