SPRINGFIELD— The cost of a new pair of basketball shoes could jump by 25 cents under a proposal floated this week by an Illinois lawmaker.
State Rep. Will Davis, D-Hazel Crest, wants to create a new tax that would generate an estimated $3 million annually for a youth job preparation program. He said the added cost would likely go unnoticed by most consumers, while helping finance a program for kids during tight budget times.
“Everywhere, funding is challenged,”Davis said. “I see it as a uniquely creative way of helping youth.”
Under the proposal, consumers buying any kind of athletic shoe would pay an extra 25 cents. Proceeds from the new tax would be earmarked for the state’s YouthBuild programs
There are a handful of YouthBuild programs throughout Illinois. In McLean County, for example, YouthBuild participants can learn basic construction skills while they build homes for low-income residents.
Davis said he decided an athletic shoe tax would be a good fit for the YouthBuild program because younger Illinoisans are major consumers of shoes.
“Who wears athletic shoes the most? It’s probably kids,” he said.
The proposal, however, is no slam dunk.
Rob Karr, senior vice president of Illinois Retail Merchants Association, said the organization will fight the proposal because it would create an unnecessary amount of additional paperwork for store owners.
“It imposes significant administrative burdens on the retailer,” Karr said.