Marion Considers Sin Tax

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By Sam Jones
By Andy Shofstall

MARION -- Talk of imposing new sin taxes in Marion drew mixed reactions at Monday’s city council meeting. Plans for a cigarette tax were quickly thrown out because of legal concerns, but a three-cent-tax on alcohol is still a possibility.      

This was just the beginning of talks about the sin tax.  It's hard to tell which way the council leans at this point. They mentioned many variables related to a decision; Marion consumers on the other hand, are a different story.

“I think liquor tax would be a good place for spending money,” Mayor Bob Butler enthused.

He brought up the idea as an alternative to the latest bed tax approved less than a month ago. Some say the hotel tax puts Marion at a disadvantage in competing with nearby towns.

Still, the council couldn't come to an agreement one way or another.

“I think we've taxed them enough so surely we can operate without finding new taxes,” said Commissioner John Goss.

Whether bars and restaurants would be included, remains to be seen. Commissioner Anthony Rinella suggested expanding liquor store hours or allowing Walmart to sell alcohol as a way to collect more revenue instead of a higher tax.

“That to me is not good. I don't want Marion to be known as the liquor capital of Southern Illinois,” Butler reacted

Marion shoppers we spoke to had a strong stance on the issue. They are adamantly against paying more for any product, especially a sin tax.

“I'd probably stick to Carbondale or usually I get things if I’m passing by. I'd make sure I have ‘em before I get to Marion,” Kelly Holst explained.

“I'm disappointed. I mean every penny I work for I want to keep in my pocket as best as possible. I do know it's a sin tax, I understand that but it gets a little ridiculous at some point,” argued Kevin Cleary.

The Marion city council tabled discussion on the sin tax, for now. No telling when it will come up again.

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