Fact check: Pritzker didn’t lower gas tax or eliminate grocery tax

Fact check: Pritzker didn’t lower gas tax or eliminate grocery tax

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s re-election ad praises him for fictional tax relief, hinting he repealed the grocery tax and lowered the gas tax. Neither is true.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is touting his temporary tax relief in a new campaign ad. The ad credits him with helping Illinoisans pay less in gas taxes, which they don’t.

The ad boasts Pritzker’s tax policies are “helping us pay less for the things we buy every day.”

Gas prices are down in Illinois, but not because of reduced gas taxes. Pritzker didn’t lower the gas tax, he just delayed this year’s automatic increase until January 2023. That means Illinoisans will continue paying 39.2 cents a gallon this year, then face two automatic hikes in 2023 expected to take the tax up to 45.2 cents per gallon.

Despite what Pritzker claims in an ad, Illinoisans still pay the second-highest gas taxes in the nation, up from 10th highest before he doubled the tax. Pritzker hiked the gas tax to 38 cents from 19 cents in 2019. On top of that, he implemented automatic annual gas tax hikes so lawmakers never again can be held responsible for their votes to raise gas taxes.

The ad also claims Pritzker “eliminated” the 1% grocery tax, leading you to believe it’s been repealed. He actually suspended it for one year. If somebody told you a fee was eliminated, you wouldn’t expect it to pop up less than a year later.

Illinois is the only big state to tax groceries, and 37 other states don’t believe you should be taxed on your need to eat. If Pritzker wanted to help with tax relief every day, he’d repeal both the grocery tax and automatic gas tax hike.

During the budget debate, some lawmakers wanted to repeal the grocery tax, not suspend it. Pritzker prefers it resume in time for the next state budget.

Pritzker’s temporary tax relief package gives the average family a one-time, $556 tax break. His 24 tax and fee hikes have taken $2,165 from the average family during his term. Not to mention the additional $2,288 Illinoisans are paying in property taxes, according to an Illinois Policy Institute analysis.

The next property tax increase is on the Nov. 8 ballot. Disguised as a “workers’ rights amendment,” Amendment 1 would guarantee a $2,100 property tax hike for the average household over four years by granting government union bosses supercharged negotiating powers to make demands taxpayers would be forced to fund.

Just like Pritzker’s campaign ads, Amendment 1 claims leave voters with lots of reasons to be skeptical.

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