State Representative Charlie Meier’s constituents in his 108th district have a lot to say about the proposed Illinois gas tax increase.
Some are OK with a 10 cent increase – with the stipulation that it be used to improve roads and bridges, Meier said. People object to it being used for the Chicago Transit System.
Many people don’t want any tax increase of any kind. They tell Meier variations of “Illinois taxes are already too high. If you raise taxes, more people will move out of state.”
A gas tax may have the opposite affect of generating more revenue, Meier said. “The state is long and narrow. A lot of people living near states with lower gas taxes will buy their gas there, and then buy things in the convenience store,” he said. “That will ultimately hurt businesses and reduce tax income.”
A proposal was also made for a mileage tax. Residents would have to buy a gadget that calculates mileage driven in Illinois. Meier said that the details have not been worked out.
Illinois’s dilemma is that income for roads and bridges has not kept pace with expenses. The state has not raised the gas tax for decades, which is coupled with more fuel efficient vehicles where less gas is used, thus less sales tax collected. Also, electric cars that don’t use gas are using the roads but not contributing for their maintenance.
Meier said that he would be more in favor of a federal gas tax increase. “We wouldn’t have states competing with each other,” he said.