State to Raise Gas Tax

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SPRINGFIELD – As part of Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s attempt to balance the state budget, the new gas tax increase begins July 1, 2019 and will put Illinois in the top five for the highest total gasoline taxes. All taxes combined will be 73 cents per gallon. The price motorists pay at the pump for gasoline would double from 19 cents to 38 cents per gallon under legislation the Illinois House has adopted.

The Illinois House voted 83-29 this past Saturday night to increase the motor fuel tax to pay for upgrades to roads, bridges, public transit, railroads and other improvements. According to some analysts, it would produce more than $1 billion next year—or will it? The biggest winner in this gas tax increase will be the bordering states of Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri and Indiana.

“Illinois is going from one of the lower gas taxes in the region to one of the highest,” stated Patrick Dehaan, founder of GasBuddy.com.  “These taxes may also force hundreds of Illinois convenience stores in Illinois to close, according to industry advocates, costing potentially thousands of jobs and creating a glut of empty buildings.

Other cities and counties also have the option to raise the gas tax even more. Cities in Cook County also have the option to raise gas taxes by an additional 3 cents a gallon.

Registration fees on Illinois vehicles will be increasing as well. Gas-fueled cars will be $199 per car. Electric car fees increase to $245 from just $34 every other year.

Yet to be seen will be the increase in the price of goods and services that rely on transportation via trucks that travel in Illinois. By fall, the cost of select food products may increase due to transportation from warehouses to local stores. Shipping costs by UPS, FedEX and Amazon may increase by late fall. Local ridership by Lyft and Uber may increase, but the base fare will also increase. Tourism by people who visit the state via cars may see a decline in the next 18 months as the state becomes more expensive to visit.

This new gas tax is earmarked to improve roads and travel infrastructure in the state. If this is true, the state will have nicer roads and less people using them.

“I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.” ― Winston S. Churchill

62 COMMENTS

  1. Wait. What? I’d venture to say that many Illinois citizens don’t need this explained. Any tax increase will be harmful as long as they can’t figure out a way to cut spending. We don’t have the luxury of ignoring our bills and increasing our spending….and on top of that, giving ourselves pay raises. They’re wrong. They don’t care about anybody but themselves. They’re as corrupt as the day is long. And nobody should trust them.

    • “Comparing state spending in fiscal year 2000 with state spending in fiscal year 2019 adjusted for inflation, higher education is down 52%, human services and public safety are down 26%, health care is down 23% and net discretionary spending is down 20%, according to an analysis by the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability.” Things have already been cut back to the bone, Leslie Venere.

    • Mike Wyckoff numbers might be right, but past support has been more than the state could afford. If spending exceeds what money the state has, the state should get spending under control. A pay cut, rather than a raise, would be a good place to start. And what is discretionary spending? Down just 20%? Why does higher education need any money? They should live within their means with the massive tuition dollars they receive. Spending is out of control, Mike, all over the country and those taxes just keep rising.

    • Fair enough. If those attitudes reflect your values, then so be it. In my view we charge students far too much in the way of tuition and fees to attend our universities. That’s a reflection of the state’s inability to live up to its responsibility to education its citizenry. Tuition is way up because state support for higher education is way down. Our children are not leaving the state to go to colleges elsewhere because our institutions aren’t up to par, but rather because they are underfunded. If we lived in a poor state, I would see things differently. But we live in a relatively rich state (take a look at some state gdp rankings). The wealth is there, but we’re too cheap to invest it in our children.

    • I don’t disagree entirely. Universities spend too much on administrative personnel, in my view. But if you plot state support for higher education over time, the extent to which it’s gone down is striking. You’re a good person to disagree with, I have to say. You’re kind enough to listen to my arguments and point of view. Will let you go, though 🙂 Take care.

  2. Hang in there, Barbara Ellis. By law the money has to be used for infrastructure. The repairs and improvements are badly needed, and this will be at least a modest shot in the arm to local economies around the state. I hate the regressivity of the gas tax, but it does at least point at the people who will benefit from the infrastructure improvements.

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