Provisions ensure that Illinoisans have not seen the last of state's new gas tax, IPI argues
Illinois’ state gas tax doubled from 19 cents per gallon to 38 cents on July 1, leapfrogging the state from the number 10 position to the third-highest gas tax in the nation.
According to IllinoisPolicy.org, the gas tax is part of Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker's $45 billion capital spending plan to increase more than 20 taxes and fees in order to fund much-needed repairs to the state's infrastructure. One of an increasing chorus of voices expressing concern about not only the heavier burden at the gas pumps but also accountability for where the revenues will actually go belongs to Joey Bettinardi of the Chicago Pacific Founders.
“As I will always respond, the whole state is corrupted and will never get out of their debt unless they file bankruptcy,” Bettinardi told South Cook News.
For drivers, the increased gas tax means that they will be paying at least $100 more per year on motor-fuel taxes. The previous gas tax has been in place since 1990 and the new tax is expected to bring in $1.2 billion from drivers in the first year.
The new gas tax law also allows for additional hikes moving forward. For Chicago, this increase could be three cents, while Will, Lake, DuPage, Kane and McHenry counties can increase their gas taxes by eight cents. Additionally, the law allows the gas tax to increase relative to inflation, making future gas prices in Illinois an unknown entity.
While proponents of the gas tax hike claim that it is a necessary burden, the Illinois Policy Institute argues that there is a more sustainable finance plan that would allow Illinois to raise $10 billion in new capital spending without ever having to touch tax rates.
“Rather than demanding more from overtaxed Illinoisans, the Institute’s plan outlined how state lawmakers could have given up new projects engineered to buy political favor and instead implemented a ranking system that focused on repairs,” the watchdog group reported on its website.
Illinois’ record-high $40.6 billion fiscal-year 2020 budget marks the 19th year that the state will have spent more than it collected in revenue.