Steve Balich Editors Note: I guess the State of Illinois needs more money for capital projects, and they will get it by any means maybe taxing oxygen we breathe. The State controlled by Democrats and the city of Chicago for over 50 years continues to extract the disposable income of its citizens in the name of need. They never talk about the spending and special property tax deals for business in the downtown area of Chicago. They never talk about the ruling class and employes of the government being part of the ruling class with privilege, better wages and benefits than the remaining citizens who have to pay for their lifestyle. We the under class just saw a massive State income tax hike. We also saw 2% of local tax being swooped into their coffers by the stroke of a pen that bailed out the corrupt incompetent Chicago Public Schools. As taxes increase the under class leaves, eventually the only people left are those on government programs and the ruling class. Maybe then they will look at spending. Maybe then then the number of votes over the number of registered won’t matter cause everyone including the ruling class will be fed up.
An Illinois Republican lawmaker says the question isn’t whether the state should increase its gas tax to raise new revenue for roads and other capital projects. It’s a matter of how high it should be raised.
State Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, said there’s been plenty of talk at the State Capitol about raising the state’s gas tax. Now, those talks are narrowing in on how high the state will raise the tax.
“I don’t know how high we’re going to go,” Brady said. “But certainly the governor and others want a capital bill. We want a capital bill. Our infrastructure is crying for a capital bill in the state of Illinois.”
Brady isn’t sure when lawmakers may sit down and formalize the plan to raise gas taxes in order to build new roads. But those talks may not be too far off.
“I think that [a gas tax increase] may absolutely be where we can come together,” Brady said. “Whether that’s a five percent increase, I don’t know. That’s going to be the ultimate debate.”
The Illinois News Network reported Sunday that legislative leaders planned to meet this week to discuss a capital plan and gas tax hikes, but spokespersons for House Speaker Michael Madigan, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin and Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady denied that a meeting was even scheduled.
But Gov. Bruce Rauner, fresh off his return from an economic summit in Japan and China, said Monday that the leaders are scheduled to meet Tuesday.
“Leaders will start meeting tomorrow,” Rauner said. “We gotta fix the budget. It is not balanced, and it is not in good shape. Now we’re going to try to lower our interest costs by refinancing some debt. It doesn’t solve our problems and it’s going to require more cuts to service that bond offering.”
Rauner has said the budget approved over his veto in July is about $1.7 billion out of balance despite a $5 billion income tax increase also approved over his veto. He’s also said he wants to borrow $6 billion to pay down the state’s now $16.1 billion bill backlog, money the budget imposed by lawmakers this summer didn’t include.
Rauner wasn’t asked Monday about the potential for a gas tax hike to fund a capital roads plan.
In response to the governor’s statement about a leaders’ meeting Tuesday, Senate Democrat spokesman John Patterson confirmed it.
“My understanding is the Republican leaders were interested in having a discussion among the leaders, and the Senate President always enjoys working with his colleagues across the aisle,” Patterson said. “I’m not aware of any set agenda.”
Illinois already has among the highest gas taxes in the nation. Chicagoans pay 49.5 cents a gallon before sales taxes from the city and state are applied. In downstate Carbondale, the gas tax is 41.4 cents, again before sales taxes.
“Illinoisans feel like their pockets are being picked all the time,” state Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, said. “This is just another example. An idea of increasing the gas tax after you just increased the income tax when there’s been zero reform on property taxes?”
But Brady said a new round of road construction could help improve the dwindling condition of Illinois’ roads and potentially create thousands of jobs.
Illinois last saw a new road, school, and bridge building program in 2009 under then-Gov. Pat Quinn.