Working mom: Pritzker gas tax ploy assumes Illinoisans ‘stupid’

Working mom: Pritzker gas tax ploy assumes Illinoisans ‘stupid’

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s campaign gimmick to delay his next gas tax increase assumes Illinois drivers have a short memory. One working mom says her $72 fill-up is a regular reminder of just how many taxes Pritzker has imposed.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s recent campaign ad features a guy in buffalo plaid at a gas pump claiming the six-month delay in the automatic gas tax hike “means relief for us, not for oil companies.”

There’s no mention of how Pritzker was the one who doubled the gas tax and built in the automatic annual increase he is delaying, but a working mom of three certainly remembers.

“I recall when Pritzker instituted the gas tax hikes in 2019 and we immediately saw prices jump 20 cents per gallon. Now I think they are up about 40 cents per gallon from when he took office. So $35 for a 16-gallon fill-up is now $72 for the same,” said Gina Williams, a working mom of three.

Pritzker doubled the state gas tax from 19 cents to 38 cents in 2019 as part of a $45 billion infrastructure plan that included plenty of pork projects. The increase also included inflation-based automatic gas tax increases every July 1, a tool which allows lawmakers to avoid unpopular votes to continually raise the gas tax.

The hike initially drove Illinois gas taxes to the No. 3 spot nationally from No. 10 less than a year after it was enacted. Continued hikes have bumped Illinois up to No. 2.

Worst of all, Pritzker’s ad fails to tell voters the gas taxes resume shortly after the election. Drivers face two automatic increases in 2023: the 2.2-cent increase delayed to Jan. 1 and then the regular automatic increase on July 1, 2023, projected to be 3.8 cents a gallon.

“I feel angry and manipulated by his latest moves to ‘help,’” Williams said. “He thinks we’re stupid and that the average Illinoisan isn’t capable of remembering his history of tax hikes!”

Gas consumption is a fixed cost for most, so gas tax increases and automatic increases hurt the state’s most vulnerable, including families and the poor.

“Unfortunately, my driving habits can’t change much – I have kids in sports which require 30-plus minute trips each way. So these gas tax increases take a bite out of other parts of our budget,” Williams said.

Illinoisans currently pay 24 new taxes and fees, including the doubled gas tax, since Pritzker took office. His election-year “relief” follows $5.24 billion in new taxes he’s imposed. All these added taxes make tough economic times hurt Illinoisans more than other states’ residents.

Instead of temporarily “relief” from taxes he imposed, Pritzker should champion structural changes such as pension reform and quit pretending the state budget is balanced when Illinois is projected to mark its 22nd consecutive deficit.

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