In response to Illinois’ budget crisis, there have been a number of proposals discussed to increase the state’s revenue. Two proposals would make Illinois the first state with a statewide plastic bag tax.

Senate Bill 1240 passed the Senate Revenue Committee and awaits a full Senate vote. It would charge 7 cents per plastic bag. The legislation exempts municipalities with a population of 2.5 million (Chicago’s population is 2.7 million) and municipalities that already have a bag tax in place.

The 7 cents would be distributed:

  • 2 cents to the retailer
  • 2 cents to the state general revenue fund
  • 3 cents to a new fund, the Checkout Bag Tax Fund

House Bill 3335 is awaiting a committee hearing. It would charge 10 cents per plastic bag. The legislation exempts municipalities with a population of 1 million.

The 10 cents would be distributed:

  • 3 cents to the retailer
  • 4 cents to a new fund, the Checkout Bag Tax Fund
  • 1 cent to the Prairie Research Institute
  • 1 cent to the Solid Waste Management Fund
  • 1 cent to the Partners for Conservation Fund

Governor JB Pritzker included a plastic bag tax in his proposed fiscal year 2020 budget.  The initial revenue estimates were $19 million to $23 million.

Chicago already has a plastic bag tax in place. It currently has a 7 cents per bag tax for both paper and plastic bags, with 2 cents going to the retailer and 5 cents to the city.

Proponents include the Illinois Environmental Council and the Sierra Club.

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