Brent Retherford

Brent Retherford

“Every day I drive more than 40 miles one way to my work at Arconic in Riverdale, Iowa. I live in Illinois, but I work in Iowa. We have some of the highest gas taxes in the country.”

“I actually went to the Shell gas station that is less than a block from my house in Annawan, Illinois, on Thursday and gas was $4.49 a gallon. When my wife and I woke up yesterday morning it jumped 30 cents overnight to $4.79.”

“In 2019, I wasn’t very fond about Prizker’s gas tax increase to almost 40 cents, but back then I wasn’t paying $5 a gallon. During the pandemic it got down to $1.62 or $1.65 a gallon on the Iowa side and $2 or more over on the Illinois side. It wasn’t horrible. However, with that gas tax now and $4.79-plus a gallon, the gas tax is really hurting people.”

“Middle-income families and lower-income families have to be just getting hammered right now.”

“And the automatic annual increases are just cruel to working families.”

“I know a bunch of people that commute to work in Iowa but live on the Illinois side. One friend that lives in Mercer County drives 52 miles from his house to Arconic. He drives even farther than I do.”

“He has to budget X amount of dollars for fuel and he’s done it for a while. But when you go from budgeting X amount of dollars for fuel at $2 a gallon and it jumps 200%, that takes a huge chunk from other parts of the budget.”

“Most of the time I think he tries to buy fuel in Iowa, but as you can guess even that has gone up. At one gas station I usually go to, it’s usually anywhere from 40 to 60 cents cheaper than on the Illinois side. It’s $4.79 over here, and $4.20 a gallon there. So, I mean it’s going up over there, too.”

“Occasionally I get stuck buying gas on the Illinois side. I try not to, but I can’t be the only one who does everything they can to avoid it. I don’t drive anywhere if I don’t have to. There’s no point. It’s too expensive.”

“On top of the gas tax, you have all of the families and businesses that have fled and are still fleeing. And I was one of them that wanted out of here. The only reason I am still here is that I could not find a house in Iowa close to work.”

“I found one house in Princeton, Iowa, that went on the market that morning and three hours after it went on the market, I called to go look at it but it was already sold. We ended up buying this house in Annawan, and we got a good deal on the house. But our property taxes are still huge.”

“I’m still annoyed with property taxes, even in Henry County. I’m paying almost $4,600 on a 100-year-old house. Why?”

“I have friends that live in Rock Island County, which is in Illinois, closer to the Iowa-Illinois border. One of them is paying over $10,000 a year in property taxes and another is paying $8,800.”

“This state is ridiculous. We have the second-highest property taxes in the country. The last time I checked, it was second only to New Jersey.”

“Mid-terms are coming up. Why do you think all the same mandates have disappeared and they’re halting this gas tax and the grocery tax? It’s because they want to be re-elected.”

“So I am not willing to give this state another dime in fuel taxes. That’s another reason why I go over to Iowa to spend my money. This state is so wasteful and broken, and it just feels like politicians don’t care about us.”

“Because the fuel prices were so cheap in 2019-2020, it really didn’t upset me as much as it does now. But when the gas prices more than double then it comes into play. I guess it is hindsight.”

“It affects your pocketbook every day. So I don’t know how else to put it: It’s frustrating.”

Brent Retherford
Complex operator, Arconic aluminum
Annawan, Illinois

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