So I don’t think I’m letting out any secrets when I say Illinois is a very expensive place to live. It’s also one of the worst run states in the union due to terrible budgetary mismanagement. Remember we didn’t even have one for a couple of years! We in da hole big time here in The Prairie State. And it doesn’t look as if that’s gonna change any time soon; in fact it looks to be getting worse. Big changes loom large on our economic horizon.
The cost of owning and operating a vehicle in Illinois will increase dramatically under a proposal in the state Senate aimed at paying for repairs to crumbling roads and bridges. The legislation, introduced this week by Democratic Sen. Martin Sandoval of Chicago, would more than double the state’s gas tax to 44 cents a gallon, double the driver’s license fee to $60 and raise the vehicle registration fee to $148. The driver’s license fee is now $30; the vehicle registration fee is $98. It also would significantly hike the registration fee for electric vehicles, from $17.50 to $1,000. Greater fuel efficiency and an increasing number of electric vehicles on the road has cut into the revenue available to the state to fix transportation infrastructure. In addition, in an effort to provide a stable source of transportation funding, the gas tax and registration fees could continue to creep up every year under a formula tied to the rate of inflation. Sandoval said his plan would raise an estimated $2.4 billion in annual transportation funding for Illinois. Illinois’ gas tax has been 19 cents per gallon since 1990, and the state’s last large-scale infrastructure improvement program was approved a decade ago. A variety of ideas to fund repairs to the state’s aging infrastructure have been proposed over the years, from previous attempts to raise the gas tax to proposals to tax vehicles based on the number of miles driven. But none has gained traction in Springfield. Since 2013, 30 other states, including neighboring Indiana, have enacted legislation to increase gas taxes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. “We have fallen behind. Our continued investment in our Illinois infrastructure is key in creating jobs, promoting full economic recovery,” Sandoval said Wednesday at a statehouse news conference. “Investment will boost productivity, support business growth, create jobs, provide a healthier environment and improve opportunity for Illinoisans. It is about time. Doing nothing is not a solution.” It’s unclear how much appetite there will be in the General Assembly for a gas tax increase. In Pritzker’s spending plan for the budget year that begins July 1, he’s asking lawmakers to legalize and tax sports betting and recreational marijuana, and to increase or enact taxes on cigarettes, e-cigarettes and plastic shopping bags, among other items. On top of that, the rookie governor wants the House to follow the Senate’s lead in approving a proposed amendment to the Illinois Constitution that would allow for a graduated-rate income tax and to pass a bill setting the rates that would take effect if voters approve the amendment on the November 2020 ballot. Click here for Dan Petrella’s full Tribune article.