Motor fuel tax bill fails to move forward
A gut and replacement that became the Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) bill stalled on the last day of the legislative session.
After passing the Senate in early May, SB 2610 was sent back to the House rules committee on May 31.
Sponsored by state Rep. William Davis (D-East Hazel Crest), the measure is meant to ensure that disadvantaged business enterprises (DBE) are offered preference to local contracts. Additionally, if a DBE bid price is more than 5 percent above the non-disadvantaged business enterprise bid price, the local government can grant a goal adjustment in good-faith efforts, according to the sponsor.
Immediately mentioning that the Illinois Road and Builders Association, the Illinois Asphalt Pavement Association and the Illinois Municipal League’s (IML) oppose the bill, Rep. Peter Breen (R-Lombard) asked Davis during debate on May 31 if anyone else rejected the bill. After Davis detailed some of the opponents' concerns, Breen informed lawmakers about the DBE program and the 5 percent advantage it offers on local projects involving businesses run by women, veterans and minorities,
Breen said a wide variety of municipalities would be impacted by Davis' bill, including DuPage County.
“It would apply to every contract, not just the contracts involving the MFT, motor fuel tax money,” Breen said.
Though Breen said he is supportive of offering disadvantaged businesses a shot, a lack of resources makes the measure nearly impossible. Unlike the state, he said smaller municipalities don’t have the ability to successfully design, build and monitor projects.
“It might be a good idea, but is not a good idea for May 31 when we are trying to help the state and not put more burdens on our units of government,” Breen said.
Though he said he really wanted to debate, Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville) noted that he could not argue the point due to a conflict of interest.
“I will be voting 'present',” he added.
But Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) did discuss the matter, noting that Davis’ new text is unclear due to the many changes made to the DBE business provisions.
While applauding Davis for his hard work to engage all stakeholders, Wheeler said he wanted to work with him, but he could not support the bill.
“With the request of some of the members from my side of the aisle, I will be requesting a roll call verification,” Wheeler said.
Ultimately, SB 2610 was sent back to committee.