March 19, 2015
The Civic Federation and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago will co-host a conference, “Sin Taxes: The Sobering Fiscal Reality,” in two weeks on Thursday, April 2, 2015. The conference will examine the theories behind these ubiquitous taxes and their implementation across the country, with a special focus by three panels of experts on tobacco taxes, gaming expansions and the new frontier of medical and legalized marijuana.
The event will run from 8:00 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. and include a luncheon, opening remarks and three panels. The full agenda is available on the Civic Federation website. Registration is only $75 for this full-day conference, but is free for Civic Federation Board members, Council and Trustees.
The conference will take place in the Moskow Conference Center on the third floor of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, 230 South LaSalle Street. We are looking forward to some excellent discussions of how reliable sin taxes are and the issues governments face in enforcing them. The conference is expected to sell out, so register soon!
You may also visit the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago website for more details.
Opening Remarks – Sin Taxes: Good Idea, Bad Idea or Simply Convenient?
- Adam Hoffer, Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse
- Scott Pattison, Executive Director, National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO)
Session I – Competition and Cooperation: Cross-Jurisdictional Issues and Tobacco Taxes
Different tobacco tax rates across jurisdictional boundaries can create difficulties in budgeting revenues and in enforcement. However, they also create opportunities for cooperation. Panelists will discuss challenges, opportunities and the future of tobacco taxes in Illinois, as well as the role taxes play in Chicago’s goals to reduce tobacco use among residents.
Moderator: Adrienne Archia, Civic Federation Board of Directors
- Ivan Samstein, Chief Financial Officer, Cook County
- Brian Cooper, Acting Program Administrator, Illinois Department of Revenue
Session II – High Times? Marijuana Legalization in Colorado and Medical Marijuana in Illinois
The new frontier in sin taxes is marijuana, with four states and the District of Columbia having legalized recreational use of cannabis. Colorado was the first state to legalize and realize significant tax revenues, along with unexpected enforcement issues. Illinois recently passed a pilot medical marijuana program. Panelists will discuss the revenues and complications associated with full legalization and limited medical use.
Moderator: Rick Mattoon, Senior Economist and Economic Advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
- The Honorable Lou Lang, Illinois State Representative
- Andrew Freedman, Director of Marijuana Coordination, State of Colorado
Session III – At the Tipping Point: Gaming Expansion vs. Falling Revenues
Gaming expansions are perennially on the agenda to increase resources for cash-strapped states and municipalities, including in Illinois. However, some observers are now questioning whether gaming has become so ubiquitous that new expansions will not significantly increase revenue. Panelists will discuss national and state gaming revenue trends and the prospect for future gaming expansions in Illinois and Chicago.
Moderator: Elizabeth Coolidge, Managing Director, PNC Capital Markets
- Lucy Dadayan, Senior Policy Analyst, The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government
- Peter Matuszak, Senior Analyst, Institute for Illinois’ Fiscal Sustainability at the Civic Federation
- Mark Ostrowski, Director, Illinois Gaming Board