Will County weighs new 4- to 8-cent countywide gas tax atop doubled Illinois tax

Will County weighs new 4- to 8-cent countywide gas tax atop doubled Illinois tax

County leaders may exercise new taxing authority from Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s capital plan. Illinois already doubled its portion of the gas tax, pushing the total burden to No. 3 in nation.

Drivers filling up in Will County could soon lose a small advantage over most of their collar county peers.

A proposal to enact a countywide gas tax between 4 cents and 8 cents per gallon was presented Aug. 2 by Will County Director of Transportation Jeff Ronaldson to the Will County Board Public Works and Transportation Committee, according to the Herald-News. That would be atop the gas taxes Will County drivers already pay at the state and municipal levels.

Ronaldson estimated a countywide gas tax could raise $12 million to $24 million, according to the Herald-News. He said those revenues could far surpass what the county gets from the state under the capital plan.

Currently, Will and Lake counties are the only collar counties that do not impose their own county-level excise tax on gasoline. Both are now discussing it, each with the ability to add 8 cents per gallon.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s $45 billion capital plan, which doubled the state’s gas tax to 38 cents from 19 cents per gallon, brought Illinois’ gas tax burden to third from 10th-highest in the nation. According to an Illinois Policy Institute analysis, drivers will pay an extra $100 per year for the state gas tax hike.

The capital plan also expanded Chicago’s ability to increase its motor fuel tax by 3 cents per gallon and each of the collar counties to levy a motor fuel tax of up to 8 cents per gallon. DuPage, Kane and McHenry counties currently charge drivers 4 cents per gallon, meaning their rates could double – although they are not proposing hikes. Lake County discussed a gas tax, with potential revenue projected at about $11 million to $22 million.

With nearly two-thirds of the state’s population residing in the collar counties, further gas tax hikes by their county governments could push Illinois’ national ranking higher than No. 3.

At least one county board member urged caution before introducing another tax too quickly, according to the Herald-News. “How much are we going to tax people?” asked Will County Board member Mike Fricilone.

Fricilone recommended putting the question to voters on an advisory referendum before moving forward with the proposal.

The Will County board scheduled another meeting Aug. 8 to discuss the gas tax, among other issues.

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