Illinois corn growers fear repercussions of Cook County beverage tax
Cook County’s recently implemented tax on sweetened beverages could trickle down and hurt the state's corn growers, according to a report from the Illinois News Network (INN) that tapped the positions of farmer associations.
The tax adds a penny-per-ounce surcharge on all sales of sweetened beverage, many of which use corn syrup. If the tax reduces demand for the beverages, demand for corn syrup could also fall at a time when corn farmers are already facing poor revenues, according to the report.
“Illinois corn farmers are entering into their fourth or fifth year of prices being below the cost of production,” Tricia Baird, communications director of the Illinois Corn Growers Association, told the INN. “So any market impact means something at the farm level.”
While the group did not take an official position on the Cook County tax, it is strongly opposed to any similar measure at a state level. The Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) agreed that the impact of a similar tax executed on a larger scale could be a significant problem for the state’s farmers.
“[Corn syrup] is a component of what drives the demand for corn, so farmers do have a stake in it,” IFB senior economist Mike Doherty said, according to the INN. “The concern would be these taxes would be replicated in other large metro areas and would become a part of coast-to-coast taxation.”
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