Sin Taxes: The Sobering Fiscal Reality 2015 Forum Agenda

Links to each presentation can be found within the agenda below:


8:05 a.m. —  Welcome
William Testa,Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

8:10 a.m. — Opening Presentation
Adam Hoffer, Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse
Sin Taxes: An Economist's Perspective

8:50 a.m. — Break


9:00 a.m. 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 discussed 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


10:30 a.m. — Break


10:45 a.m. 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 discussed 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
    Marijuana Tax Structure

11:45 a.m. — Break


12:00 p.m. — Luncheon, Keynote Speaker
Scott Pattison, Executive Director, National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO)
Sin Taxes: Sobering Reality

1:00 p.m. — Break


1:15 p.m. Session III — At the Tipping Point: Gaming Expansion vs. Falling Resources

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 discussed 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


2:45 p.m. — Adjournment
Laurence Msall, President, The Civic Federation