Debate over informal Proposal to hike Illinois Gas Tax

Gas prices in Illinois are pricier than neighboring states, as per the AAA. This fact did not deter a few groups from pushing for an increase in gas taxes as a method to shore up revenue. Although no formal proposal has been put forward to raise Illinois's motor fuel tax, heated discussions continue on this subject at the statehouse.

For tax rise

Backing the tax rise is Joe Sweeney of Iowa Foundation for Fair Contracting in Indiana, Illinois. He opines that the infrastructure of the state is insufficient as successive state administrations have not hiked 19 cents for every gallon gas tax from 1993. His solution? Tie the tax of gas to inflation. Research has shown that a hike in the gas tax will hit hardest the lowest income families.

Sweeney went further on to say that if the tax on motor fuel was kept in tandem with the inflation in 2015, the tax would be 31 cents for every gallon. For diesel, the tax in such a hypothetical scenario would be 35 cents for every gallon.

Against tax rise

Not everyone subscribes to Sweeney's logic, many criticize it. One of them is Bill Fleischli of Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association and Association of Convenience Stores. The Executive Vice President said that a tax rise is not the way forward. To bolster his argument, he reminded those interested that the last time taxes on motor fuel went north, volumes fell by seven percent. He asked that the authorities permit professionals like him to compete in the market and not hike taxes. He assured that both revenue and also the gallonage will go up. Fleischli added that a rise in taxes imposed on gas places the state at a bad competitive disadvantage compared to the neighboring states.

Consumers are found to be frequently crossing state lines to escape the gas tax imposed by Illinois. However, only the gas tax alone is not to blame. Things are more expensive in Illinois State. An owner of convenient stores located close to Missouri-Illinois border, Curt Adams, oppose any kind of increase in the gas tax. The reason? The businessman noticed Illinois residents are crossing over to Missouri and purchasing cigarettes in bulk as they are cheaper. A rise in tax, he said, will hurt the competitive advantage of Illinois over Missouri. According to him, keeping gas tax the same will permit small businesses like him to compete at a slight advantage over lower-cost states.

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