Unions backed doubling gas tax, now push disguised tax hike amendment
The same unions that supported doubling the gas tax in 2019 donated $15 million to politicians who voted for Amendment 1, a proposed tax hike sold as a “workers’ rights” amendment.
Pain at the pump is growing across the United States, but that pain is made worse in Illinois by the nation’s second-highest gas taxes. Now, the same groups that pushed to double the gas tax in 2019 are pushing another tax hike disguised as a workers’ rights amendment to the state constitution.
Illinois had the 10th highest gas taxes in the nation until Pritzker and lawmakers doubled them to 38 cents per gallon from 19 cents in 2019. That 2019 legislation also increased local governments’ authority to add their own gas taxes and created automatic annual increases in the gas tax with no vote from lawmakers.
Illinois has officially surpassed its highest recorded average gas price of $4.68 per gallon set in 2012. Illinoisans are now paying on average $5.26 per gallon by June 2. The state currently ranks seventh nationwide for highest average cost per gallon of gas. Chicagoans pay an even higher price at $5.61 per gallon – the highest in Illinois.
Pritzker proposed delaying this year’s scheduled gas tax hike until after the election, bringing two gas tax increases next year. But this temporary suspension provides no relief from tax increases already imposed, and even other temporary election year tax gimmicks leave the average Illinois family paying a net $2,165 in higher taxes thanks to 24 tax and fee hikes implemented by Pritzker earlier in his term.
Now, a secret tax hike disguised as a constitutional amendment is on the ballot this November. And the same unions that supported doubling the gas tax in 2019 to fund Pritzker’s $45 billion infrastructure plan, including $1.4 billion in waste and pork projects, are supporting this secret tax hike.
The passage of Amendment 1 would guarantee higher taxes and state debt in Illinois. That’s because under Amendment 1 there is no limit on what government unions can demand, no limit on what state and local politicians can give away through negotiations, and no requirement that government units be able to pay for new costs.
The cost of the demands bargained for by government unions will be placed on taxpayers, and lawmakers will be forced to increase taxes to cover the costly negotiations allowed under Amendment 1.
Government unions in Illinois have previously pushed for explicit tax hikes, including the doubling of the state gas tax and Pritzker’s failed progressive tax, which would have been a blank check for politicians to hike taxes on the middle class and retirees.
Now, these same unions want to pass this secret constitutional amendment – dubbed a “workers’ rights” amendment by proponents – to raise taxes on Illinoisans to pay for the extensive government union bargaining permitted under the amendment.
There are 90 witness slips from unions, firms, committees and individuals positioning support for Amendment 1.
Among those filing support for the amendment are government unions, including the Illinois Federation of Teachers, Chicago Teachers Union, AFSCME Council 31, and SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana. They filed support for the amendment not once, but twice.
On Nov. 8, voters will have the opportunity to stand up to special interests and reject this radical change to the Illinois Constitution that exists in no other state and promises to drive up the costs taxpayers already pay for government workers.
Illinoisans currently suffer under some of the highest taxes in the nation. But voters can say no to government unions taking even more money out of taxpayers’ pockets this November.
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