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Illinois Governor Jay Robert “J. B.” Pritzker is pushing for a huge increase in Illinois’ sales tax on gasoline as he and his collaborators in the general assembly justify their actions with distorted information.

“The proposed hike in gasoline taxes is a scam,” according to Jim Tobin, president of Taxpayers United of America (TUA). “The reasons given for raising gasoline taxes are false.”

A bill introduced in the State Senate would double the Illinois gas tax, from 19 cents to 38 cents per gallon, and hike vehicle registration fees supposedly to pay for repairs to roads, bridges and other “infrastructure.”

“We now have pothole-ridden roads that we can’t afford to fix and more than 2,300 bridges that are rated as structurally deficient,” contended State Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-11, Cicero), chair of the Senate Transportation Committee.

Sandoval proposed an amendment to Senate Bill 103, which would create almost $2 billion in new taxes annually. The doubling of the motor fuel tax per gallon to 38 cents would take effect July 2019.

However, according to Randal O’Toole, a Cato Institute Senior Fellow, Illinois’ highway infrastructure is actually in fairly good shape, despite the pronouncement of Pritzker that infrastructure is “crumbling across the state.” The transportation system with serious infrastructure problems is urban transit.

“The real problem with Illinois’ transit infrastructure is not that it is worn out but that it is obsolete and no longer successfully serves the needs of the typical state resident,” says O’Toole.

“By two important measures the roads are in good shape and getting better,” states O’Toole. “First, only 2,303 bridges, or less than 9 percent of the total, were considered structurally deficient in 2017. This is a substantial reduction from the 4,494 highway bridges, or 18 percent of the total, that were classified structurally deficient in 1992. ‘Structurally deficient,’ by the way, doesn’t mean that a bridge is in danger of collapsing or poses a safety risk. Instead, it only means is that the cost of maintaining a bridge is greater than it should be and, in some cases, the load limits for the bridges have been reduced.”

“The second measure showing that Illinois roads are improving is a standardized roughness index used by the Federal Highway Administration to grade highways. According to this index, Illinois roads are 35 percent less rough today than they were in 1995.”

In its 23rd Annual Highway Report, the Reason Foundation revealed that Illinois Ranks 28th Overall in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness. In other words, it’s in the middle of the pack. In fact, in some areas, Illinois roads do quite well. “Illinois’s best rankings are rural Interstate pavement condition (tied for 1st), rural arterial pavement condition (3rd) and urban Interstate pavement condition (5th).”

“Illinois ranks 15th in fatality rate, 7th in deficient bridges, 1st (tie) in rural Interstate pavement condition, 5th in urban Interstate pavement condition….”

 “Obviously, there are other reasons Illinois Democrats and Senator Bill Brady (R-44) want to raise gasoline taxes,” said Tobin. “Due to the state’s lavish, gold-plated pension plans for retired government employees, the state’s pension plans and finances generally are in dire condition, and rather than cut spending and revise the government pensions, the Democrats and Bill Brady are again kicking the can down the road with as many tax hikes as they can get away with.”

Stop The Rain Tax!

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Chicago – A storm is brewing in Springfield that is threatening to blow away Illinois Taxpayers. The bill, HB825 will allow municipalities to impose unlimited fees on taxpayers based off of storm water collection, treatment, distribution infrastructure, and disposal.

“When it comes to greedy politicians it is never enough,” said Jim Tobin, President of Taxpayers United of America (TUA). “Not only do they want a graduated income tax increase and a gas tax increase, they also want to tax us for rain!”

A release from Representative Allen Skillicorn (R-66) best discusses the problem with the upcoming rain tax.

From the release, “Crystal Lake, IL – There isn’t anything Springfield won’t tax, even the rain! Yes, you read that right. The Democratic super-majority wants to give your local municipality the power to have you pay a fee for the rain.”

“Of course they aren’t going to tell you that directly, but that is what HB825 does by amending the Illinois Municipal Code to modify the definition of “sewerage system” to include storm water collection, treatment, and distribution infrastructure and disposal of storm water, giving your local municipality the ability to charge a fee to offset the cost of owning, maintaining, and improving local storm water infrastructure. So here’s a thought, aren’t they already doing so? What are all those drains for in our town and city streets that have been around for years? Isn’t storm water already being collected by our sewerage systems which we pay a fee for? So why modify the definition with the power to charge a separate fee now?”

“Let’s take a look at one municipality that tried to tax the rain back in 2013. The City of Elgin was contemplating a Storm Water Utility fee for 2014. Was it to address the cost of “owning, maintaining, and improving local storm water infrastructure” as a reasonable person might assume? Nice guess, but no. Elgin’s Proposed 2013-2017 Financial Plan clearly stated “Stormwater Utility Fee—The 2012-2016 Financial Plan identified the possibility of implementing a stormwater utility fee in 2013 for the sole purpose of further diversifying the city’s revenue stream to reduce reliance on property taxes. The 2013-2017 financial plan remains unchanged in this regard.” [Emphasis mine]”

“According the WalletHub, Illinois residents have the highest combined tax rate in the nation. Another tax, that as written in UNLIMITED is not acceptable and would dead on arrival if Illinois politicians were in touch with the over-taxed residents.”

“HB825 passed out of the Cities and Villages Committee on a partisan vote. All Democrat House members voted Yes and all House Republicans voted No.”

An Economic Burden. This is an UNLIMITED and regressive tax hike with no exemption for Seniors, families with children, impoverished, or even churches!” 

Unnecessary. Property owners already pay some of the nations highest property taxes.”

Administrative nightmare. How will a village measure every rooftop and impervious surface? How much will that effort cost?”

Inequitable. Because this is legally a fee, it will be charged to all residences and businesses, as well as churches, schools, and not-for-profit owned properties.”

 “No write off. The Rain Tax as a fee cannot be deducted from your Federal taxes.”

“Unfair. Most storm water doesn’t end up in the city sewers. The majority of downspouts drain onto a homeowner’s property.”

Permanent. Once a tax or fee is established, it is nearly impossible to undo.”

“I urge lawmakers to focus on market orientated reforms, not tax hikes to balance budget. This Rain Tax has to be one of the worst ideas yet!”

Where Is The Money Going?

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Chicago- After months of publicizing an increase in the Illinois gas tax, tax raisers have formally announced their ambitions. SB 102 proposed by State Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-11) would double the  motor fuel tax from $.19 per gallon to $.38 per gallon. Additionally, Sandoval’s bill would increase the passenger vehicle registration fee to $148 from $98, and the electric vehicle fee to $148 from $17.50. Most driver’s license fees would increase to $60 from $30, while truck registration fees would rise by $100. These tax increases would be expected to bring in an additional two billion dollars for Illinois government annually.

Advocates for the tax increase argue that Illinois needs this bill, but President of Taxpayers United of America Jim Tobin has a question. “Where is the money going?”

“We know not all of the money from the Illinois state gas tax goes to roads,” said Tobin. “Also, despite politicians saying so at every opportunity, Illinois roads and bridges are not crumbling.”

“Springfield and Chicago tax-raisers are spreading false information about Illinois roads. According to the Reason Foundation’s 23rd Annual Highway Report, which ranks the performance of state highway systems in 11 categories, including spending per mile, pavement conditions, deficient bridges, traffic congestion, and fatality rates, Illinois ranks 28th. Illinois roads are actually in the middle of the pack.”

“As for the disinformation politicians are spreading to terrify the public into thinking that Illinois bridges are unsafe and are about to collapse, the Reason Foundation found that Illinois bridges are the seventh-lowest in the 50 states in number of bridges in deficient condition. That these lying politicians are spreading lies about Illinois bridges to frighten people is outrageous.”

“On behalf of Illinois Taxpayers I demand that Illinois lawmakers tell the public what the money is really being used for.”