Items of Interest

The Illinois Road Hysteria

Champaign Road Illinois

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Smelling blood in the water, special interest groups and tax thieving politicians pounced on the possibility of an Illinois capital spending bill. To fund the capital spending bill’s road and transit projects, politicians and activists have called for a gas tax increase of 20 cents per gallon with the highest rate pushed as high as 85 cents per gallon. To accept the capital bill and its likely tax increases, groups like the Fight Back Fund have been airing propaganda to scare Illinois motorists.  The organization is headed by Marc Poulos, executive director of the Indiana, Illinois, Iowa Foundation for Fair Contracting, which represents the powerful International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150One of their commercials promoting the lavish road spending made allusions to children being harmed in car accidents as reasons to support such a bill. The ad even ended with the call to action, “How many more people have to die before we act?” What these anti-taxpayer scare tactics don’t want you to know though, is that Illinois roads are surprisingly good.

The American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE), a society known for their advocacy on infrastructure projects, has graded the Illinois road network at a D, or “poor,” with the overall infrastructure graded at a C-.  These are not the grades you would want you son or daughter to come home with, but there is a problem with this rating system. It does nothing to reference what poor means. They can cite why they gave it a poor grade, but can only compare its grade with other U.S. states. Poor can mean a 95% score for all the good it does. Thankfully, since the ASCE also rated the United States road network as a whole as a D too, we can compare the Illinois grade with other countries. So what is the condition of America’s roads?

The condition of America’s roads are actually very good. According to reports published by the World Economic forum, of the 137 countries measured the United States has the 10th best roads in the world.  On a global sliding scale from 1-7 with a 7 being the best, the United States scored a 5.7 in total. This score beats out other developed countries like Germany which scored a 5.5 for it’s rank of 15th place. So if the ASCE ranks Illinois as the same as the national average, a D grade, then Illinois has some of the best roads in the world, even better than Germany’s roads.

Some would criticize the declaration that Illinois has surprisingly good roads by pointing to the Illinois bridge issue. Over two weeks ago an Illinois bridge on Lake Shore Drive made headlines by having cracks in its steel supports. It is also a fact that there are 2,290 structurally deficient bridges in Illinois. However, despite the scary sounding classification what structurally deficient means is more mundane. From the Federal Highway Administration, “Bridges are considered structurally deficient if significant load-carrying elements are in poor condition due to deterioration or damage.” That is it, just poor condition. Now consider the fact only 9% of the Illinois bridges are “structurally deficient” and the problem is a lot smaller than how it is presented.

Illinois infrastructure is fine. The gas tax already brings in over a billion dollars a year, and should not be raised. In fact, Illinois roads would be even better if Illinois politicians did not steal billions from the fund for other projects, or use the funds to subsidize empty Chicago Transit Authority buses. Instead, Illinois government should take a stand for taxpayers, forget a massive multi-billion dollar tax increase, and live within its means like everyone else.

Tell Ill. Senate Republican Leader: Don’t Conspire with Democrats!

Minority Leader of the Illinois Senate
Bill Brady

Springfield—Illinois Senate Republican leader Bill Brady so far has refused to oppose a massive 30 cent per gallon increase in the Illinois gasoline tax.

“This is ridiculous,” stated lifelong taxpayer advocate and President of Taxpayers United of America, Jim Tobin. “Less then two years ago Democrats held Illinois hostage for a five billion dollar income tax increase. Now the senate Republican leader doesn’t want to oppose Democrats who want to pass a two billion dollar increase to the gas tax? Refusing to stand in the way of this massive tax hike on poor and middle class taxpayers is a massive betrayal.”

“It’s not too late for him to change his mind,” continued Jim Tobin. “All it might take are some everyday taxpayers to remind Senator Brady that it is taxpayers, not empty CTA buses that matter. That is why I urge taxpayers to contact this senator, and remind him that he has a duty to the people to resist Springfield Tax Raisers.”

If you want to tell  Senator Bill Brady to oppose this TWO BILLION DOLLAR gasoline tax increase, you can find his contact information at the Illinois General Assembly website here: http://www.ilga.gov/senate/Senator.asp?MemberID=2542 or call his office at (309) 664-4440.

Taxpayers Crush Gas Tax Threat

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CHICAGO—Illinois taxpayers defeated the plan of downstate and Cook County Democrats to give the state of Illinois the highest gasoline tax in the country during the Illinois 100th General Assembly lame duck session.

The Democrat mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emmanuel, showing how out-of-touch he was with taxpayers, had called for a 30 cent-per-gallon increase on the state gasoline tax. In response, taxpayers protested inside the Illinois Capitol Building against this two billion dollar tax hike. The January 7 protest featured many prominent anti-gasoline-tax speakers, including St. Rep. Allen Skillicorn, St. Rep. Jeanne Ives, and Jim Tobin, President of Taxpayers United of America.

When the protesters went to confront their state representatives over this proposed gasoline tax increase, the tax raisers gaveled out and fled to caucus. They refused to leave their rooms until protesters and their signs were thrown out!

“It must have been two minutes,” commented Val, a concerned taxpayer who was waiting in line to speak to his state representative about the gas tax. “They were in session for two minutes and ran. It’s like they didn’t want to talk to us.”

Illinois lawmakers were so shaken by the outpouring of opposition they did not amend any bills to include a tax increase.

“I bet those tax-raising cowards have never seen so many taxpayers gathered together in one place before,” said Tobin. “It’s too bad we taxpayers need to work for a living. Otherwise we could protest and stop every tax increase in its tracks.”

When asked about the possibility of the new general assembly passing a gas tax increase, Tobin responded, “I think they will try to pass it again. But now Springfield Democrats and the newly elected Governor Pritzker will have to take responsibility for any tax increase. They own it now. They wanted to pass it in the 100th so they could blame Gov. Rauner, and not look like hypocrites when they throw poor and middle class taxpayers under the bus.”

 

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Taxpayers United Of America: (TUA). is a nonpartisan, 501(c)(4) taxpayer advocacy group. Founded June 27, 1976 in Chicago, Illinois by activist and economist Jim Tobin, TUA works on behalf of taxpayers to reduce local, state, and federal taxes. In the past forty years, TUA has saved taxpayers more than $200 billion n taxes and has become one of the largest taxpayer organizations in America. Check All posts. s.

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