Fact check: Pritzker’s gas tax delay doesn’t ‘lower prices’

Fact check: Pritzker’s gas tax delay doesn’t ‘lower prices’

In his latest re-election ad, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker touted his election-year tax relief as lowering prices for families. He failed to mention his plan expires shortly after the election and that he imposed thousands in new taxes as his term began.

Gov. J.B Pritzker’s newest re-election ad claims his tax relief plan will help Illinois families suffering from the high cost of living, but the costs got higher thanks to new taxes he imposed at the start of his term.

Pritzker says he froze the gas tax hike until 2023. That would be a six-month delay in the automatic annual hike, which he and state lawmakers imposed to avoid future gas tax votes when they doubled the gas tax to 38 cents from 19 cents a gallon in 2019.

The delay only means drivers will face two gas tax hikes in 2023. The Jan. 1, 2023, hike is expected to add 2.2 cents per gallon, then on July 1, 2023, another 3.8 cents will be added based on experts’ inflation estimates.

The gas tax will then be 45.2 cents per gallon – a 138% increase in the gas tax since Pritzker took office.

Pritzker’s claim is wrong: He didn’t lower prices, he just delayed when taxpayers must fork over even more to the tax beast he created when he pushed a $45 billion infrastructure plan.

That plan was riddled with over $1.4 billion in pork projects: pickleball courts, snowmobile paths, dog parks, a shuttered private theater and cash for the cronies of scandal-plagued former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.

Pritzker’s right about families suffering. Illinois motorists already pay the second-highest gas tax in the nation, up from 10th-highest before Pritzker doubled the gas tax.

One other fact: Those struggling families now face $2,165 more in taxes than they did before Pritzker was elected, thanks to 24 new and increased taxes and fees he championed.

Pritzker’s TV ad is not the only way he’s spreading the word he pulled back some taxes after imposed four-times as much on the average family. Gas stations are being forced to advertise the delayed gas tax hike or pay $500-a-day fines. When gas tax hikes return in 2023, there’ll be no signs to warn consumers.

As for other relief, Pritzker claims his plan “eliminates” the grocery tax. Wrong. He only suspended for a year the 1% tax on what people eat – a tax 37 other states decided was wrong to collect.

Grocery stores are also required to remind you of Pritzker’s largesse. Every grocer must advertise the tax suspension by law either on receipts or on a boldly lettered sign, although criminal penalties and fines are not threatened as they are for gas station owners.

Pritzker’s final fabrication is his plan “lowers” property taxes. Residents will receive a one-time $300 property tax rebate. Long-term property taxes won’t go down, keeping Illinois at No. 2 in the nation and with bills that averaged $1,913 more during his administration.

Temporary relief won’t make up for the additional $2,165 in taxes the average Illinois family is paying because Pritzker was so busy during his term. If Pritzker really wanted to help working families, he wouldn’t base economic policy and tax relief on the election calendar.

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