St. Louis Suburb to Implement Tax on Food, Liquor

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. -- Beginning in January, those buying food and liquor here will pay a 1 percent sales tax on the items, the Belleville News Democrat reported.

Mayor Alvin L. Parks Jr. told business owners in a mandatory meeting Monday that the tax is needed to help pay for public safety, such as police, as well as road repairs and other public works. Those in attendance included the owners of convenience stores with liquor licenses, gas stations that sell food and liquor, as well as nightclubs and restaurants.

City budget analyst, Cortez Hood, said the tax is expected to generate $150,000 on liquor and $240,000 on other food items. The city does not have the staff to collect the tax monthly, so it will be collected quarterly via mail, he explained.

"We'll send them a bill. They will receive the first bill in April," Hood said.

City officials said the tax should be passed along to consumers. Any business that does not pay the 1 percent tax will lose its business license, Hood said, adding the tax collection will be monitored closely, according to the newspaper report.

"We didn't want to implement the 1 percent tax. But it's just something that has to be done. We've done all we can to cut our expenditures," Hood said.

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