Illinois gas tax hike proposal draws criticism - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Illinois gas tax hike proposal draws criticism

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Lawmakers could raise the gas tax, but some groups want changes with it. Lawmakers could raise the gas tax, but some groups want changes with it.
QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) - Iowa recently raised its motor fuel tax and Missouri has a bill in the Senate to do the same. Now, Illinois lawmakers are moving to raise the state tax as well.

The current Illinois gas tax of 19 cents per gallon hasn't been raised since 1990, but some lawmakers want to increase it to help pay for road maintenance.

Money generated from the motor fuel tax goes directly to construction programs, while funds from the sales tax go towards the general revenue.  And some groups say raising only the motor fuel tax won't help and other changes need to be made. One proposal being discussed is removing the five percent sales tax on gasoline and raising the fuel tax to 32 cents per gallon. 

Amy Looten with the Quincy Chamber of Commerce believes raising just the fuel tax hurts everyone.

"The other thing it impacts is the trucking industry," Looten said. "It impacts the price of everything. Every product needs to be shipped, most of the time by truck, to the store and you know all of that is included in the price."

Looten says the combined changes would still fix the roads and at the same time lower gas prices at the pump when prices are high.

Driver Dean Benner agrees with the tax hike if  the money goes toward road improvements.

"The roads aren't going to fix themselves. So you have to come up with something to pay for the repairs," Benner said. "I travel from here to Iowa City to the VA hospital up there, and they've done a lot of road improvements up there, and a lot of the highways and interstates do need improvements."

The costs to repair roads could add up if something isn't done. According to a report from the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, in 20 years  Illinois will have $75 billion in road maintenance needs.
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