Don't Worry, "Beer People," Taxman's Got the Brewskis

State Senate considers hiking tax on six-packs, wine, hard liquor

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    Illinois wants a piece of this action.

    "The beer people feel left out so we're considering adding them,"  quipped Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, of Chicago.

    He and other key legislative leaders contemplated hiking the state's tax on beer by 2.6 cents per six-pack for the first time in a decade to help underwrite a proposed multibillion-dollar statewide construction program.

    Democrat Cullerton confirmed talk of a beer tax, which would be part of a trio of liquor tax increases under consideration. Taxes of 13 cents per bottle of wine and 80 cents per bottle of hard liquor have been on the table.

    Republicans have been trying to get liquor taxes knocked out of the funding equation.

    "Of course it's an issue," said Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, of Lemont. "Obviously, we don't want to tax people."

    The aim is to raise about $1 billion in new revenues to support a construction program that could cost $26 billion and possibly be voted on early next week, WBBM radio quoted Cullerton as saying.