Illinoisans get 2nd gas tax hike of 2023 just before Independence Day

Illinoisans get 2nd gas tax hike of 2023 just before Independence Day

Illinoisans face the second gas tax hike of 2023 on July 1. The 3.1 cent hike doesn’t need lawmaker approval, thanks to state leaders implementing automatic gas tax hikes.

AAA estimates more than 43 million motorists will hit the road for Independence Day weekend. For Illinoisans, it means paying some of the highest gas taxes in the nation on fuel averaging almost $4 a gallon.

July 1 means Illinoisans start paying an extra 3.1 cents in motor fuel taxes per gallon – the second hike this year – to a new total of 45.4 cents per gallon. The tax was 19 cents before Gov. J.B. Pritzker and state lawmakers doubled it and built in automatic increases in 2019.

Illinois already imposed the fourth-highest motor fuel taxes in the nation ahead of the July 1 increase.

Illinois on June 26 had the most expensive gas in the Midwest and east of the Mississippi River. For those heading out of Illinois, filling up across the state line will save you at least 50 cents per gallon in any neighboring state and 70 cents if heading to Missouri.

Illinois has multiple layers of gas taxes: the motor fuel excise tax, a prepaid sales tax and underground environmental fees. That’s without the federal tax and local taxes added by municipalities: motorists in Cook County pay an added motor fuel tax and sales tax.

Since 2019, the state motor fuel tax has more than doubled from when it was 19 cents a gallon. Pritzker’s first budget boosted the rate and added annual automatic hikes, allowing lawmakers to dodge the unpopular responsibility of voting to raise taxes.

Pritzker’s election-year budget delayed the automatic increase for July 1, 2022, to Jan. 1, 2023. The second increase of 2023 is the automatic inflation adjustment imposed every July 1 as the new state budget begins.

Middle- and lower-income families give up a greater share of their household budgets to gas. Illinoisans traveling for Independence Day can fill up out of state, or at least out of Chicago and Cook County, to see some savings.

Lawmakers should be expected to hold public debates and then answer to voters when they want to raise taxes. Independence Day should be a time to celebrate America’s bravery, not be reminded of spineless political moves.

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