Illinois gas taxes help push prices near all-time high
The second-highest motor fuel tax in the nation keeps Illinois’ gas prices the highest in the Midwest. Diesel hits a record as the average gas price moves close to a record.
Gas prices have skyrocketed by nearly 50% nationwide, with the average U.S. price of $4.33 a gallon the highest ever recorded.
But it is worse in Illinois, where drivers pay more for gas than the national average or than their neighbors. Illinois’ average gas price May 9 reached $4.59 – the most expensive gas in the Midwest, and ninth nationally.
Illinois is less than a dime away from seeing the highest average gas price ever recorded: $4.68 in 2012.
The price of diesel in Illinois set an all-time high May 9 of $5.25. Zach Meiborg, who owns Meiborg Trucking in Rockford, has felt the impact.
“All together, we paid $2.9 million dollars in state and federal gas taxes last year. We pay more than our fair share,” Meiborg said.
As a result, the Meiborgs are moving their family – and possibly their entire business – to a state where there’s more respect for the family finances.
“Whether it’s school boards, local municipalities or the bloated state bureaucracy, we no longer see Illinois as a state where we will choose to flourish. In the next few weeks, we’re relocating to Houston and considering eventually moving our headquarters out of Illinois as well.”
Illinois has had the second-highest motor fuel taxes in the nation since Gov. J.B. Pritzker doubled them to 38 cents per gallon from 19 cents in 2019. As if that weren’t enough, his $45 billion capital plan implemented automatic annual gas tax increases expected to raise the tax to over 45 cents in a little more than a year.
Pritzker’s answer to rampant inflation and high gas prices is temporary relief that expires shortly after the election. Instead of lowering the motor fuel tax, he thinks it’d be better to simply delay the annual gas tax hike.
Since Pritzker took office, the average family’s tax bill has grown by $2,721. That same family will only save $556 temporarily under Pritzker’s “relief” plan.
Permanent tax relief is only possible through pension reform. Government pensions eat 26% of Illinois’ budget – the most in the nation – yet the state has shorted the funds an estimated $313 billion. Amending the Illinois Constitution to reduce future growth in pension liabilities would open the door to $2.4 billion in tax savings the first year and over $50 billion by 2045, while fully eliminating the state’s pension debt.
It’s the relief that would keep families such as the Meiborgs from moving to another state.
“Neither my family nor my employees will be the ones left without a chair when the music stops playing here in Illinois,” Meiborg said.
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