With the ratification of the 21st Amendment, 1933 marked the end of Prohibition in the United States. But that hasn … – Illinois Policy

With the ratification of the 21st Amendment, 1933 marked the end of Prohibition in the United States. But that hasn’t stopped the Land of Lincoln from serving a cocktail of prohibitive regulations on alcoholic beverages.

On Dec. 5, 1933, the country celebrated as the ratification of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution ushered in renewed personal liberty. An entire industry that was outlawed overnight in 1919 emerged from the underground, bringing with it a whole new sector of jobs and new tax revenues amid the Great Depression.

Alcohol taxes and regulations in the Prairie State, however, still impede the freedom of Illinoisans.

While Cook County’s notorious – now defeated – “soda tax” generated headlines, state laws restricting and taxing the sale of alcohol have quietly persisted.

Among neighboring states, Illinois has the second-highest taxes on beer as of January 2017, next to only Kentucky, according to data from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation. Illinois’ taxes on distilled spirits are the 14th-most onerous in the U.S., and its wine taxes are the 11th-highest in the country as of January 2017.

Illinois’ high alcohol tax rates are especially hard on liquor retailers nearest state borders, as Illinoisans flock to nearby states for cheaper drinks. For example, beer in Illinois is taxed at 23.1 cents per gallon, while in Indiana it’s about half that.

Bob Myers, president of the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois, has cited estimates that show Illinois is losing up to $30 million per year to cross-border alcohol sales, according to the Illinois News Network.

Perhaps these losses can partially explain why some trade organizations have been throwing their support behind anti-competitive legislation.

With the passage of the Liquor Control Act in 1934, Illinois established its alcohol distribution system, dividing it into three tiers: manufacturers, distributors and retailers. Under this system,

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