Pritzker Touts Revenue and Property Tax Refunds to Offset Record Gas Prices Driven by High Gas Taxes | Illinois

(The Center Square) – Illinois’ average price per gallon of regular gasoline is now a dollar higher than neighboring Missouri, primarily due to gasoline and state sales tax in plus the cost of fuel. Some want a special session of the state legislature to take more action.

The average regular gas price in Illinois on Wednesday was $5.53 a gallon. The average Illinois Wednesday is a whole dollar higher than a month ago and $2.20 higher than a year ago. The national average was $4.95.

Gov. JB Pritzker said rising gas prices are a global market issue, saying much of the increase is due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and inflation. Gas prices began to rise long before the war in Ukraine, and many blame Biden’s green energy program for imposing more restrictions on the oil and gas industry.

“I don’t think anyone expected us to be here when it comes to gas prices,” Pritzker said at an unrelated event in Springfield on Wednesday. “Like you, I drive by the signs, you know, or I park at a gas station and I feel it with, you know, where you’re talking over $5 in a lot of places, and now I see it there are places in the country where they are $6 or $7 or $9.

In Missouri, the average price was $4.53 on Wednesday, according to AAA. Of all of Illinois’ neighbors, Illinois’ average was the highest. The Indiana average was $5.23.

“The outrageous price spike perpetrated on the automotive public must stop,” Illinois Senate President Don Harmon spokesman John Patterson said. “Nothing in Illinois has caused prices of $5 or more a gallon. Washington needs to act.

One thing driving gasoline prices in Illinois higher than other Midwestern states is the state’s high gasoline taxes, which are the second highest in the nation, according to the Tax foundation. Illinois lawmakers, on a bipartisan basis, approved doubling the state’s gasoline tax from 19 cents to 38 cents per gallon in 2019. The measure also added an annual fuel-related increase. inflation. This is in addition to the federal gasoline tax and any county or municipal gasoline tax that certain Illinois taxing agencies may impose. Wirepoints recently calculated that drivers who fill up in Naperville pay a total of 98 cents per gallon in taxes when all taxes are taken into account.

State Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, said there should be a special session to cap the sales tax Illinois places on top of the fuel tax drivers pay to do refuel at the pump.

“It really needs to be done,” Batinick told WMAY on Tuesday. “The gas is spiraling out of control and the idea that the government is making a windfall [from a percentage of sales tax on the increase fuel price] on the backs of the middle class and the poor is truly disheartening.

Pritzker did not respond if he would call a special session. He pointed to the tax package approved by lawmakers in the spring that sends refunds to income and property taxpayers and temporarily cancels the food tax in the coming budget year, although the refunds will not be expected for months.

“Remember, we’re providing hundreds of relief dollars directly to families that they can use for precisely that purpose, they can use it for whatever they want, groceries or whatever,” Pritzker said. . “And they can use that on top of the gas tax hike ceasing to pay for gas.”

Illinois’ annual gasoline tax increase of about 2 cents per gallon that was scheduled for July 1 has been delayed to January 1, as part of the package. This does not affect the sales tax cap proposal that Batinick wants to advance.

Separately on Wednesday, State Rep. Adam Niemerg, R-Dieterich, said high gas prices hurt rural Illinois the most because they have to drive longer distances. He urged the legislature to be called back into session to resume its measure suspending the state’s gasoline tax for a four-month period, for a savings he said would be about 44 cents a gallon. .

“We have a $4.5 billion surplus due to inflationary budgeting,” Niemberg said. “We have more fuel taxes coming this year than last year. It is time to act for the people.

Niemerg was alongside State Sen. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, who is seeking to win the GOP nomination to take on Pritzker in November. He faces five other candidates in the June 28 primary.

Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch’s office said it was not commenting on “Republican primary fodder.”

“But as Senator Bailey knows, we have taken action to freeze the gas tax and continue to explore additional options to provide relief to families struggling with the effects of global instability,” a doorman said. -word.

Harmon’s office echoed this.

“As we consider what else can be done here, I hope the senator and his allies will join the millions of Americans across this great country in calling on Washington to stand up to foreign oil interests, to stand up to work and finally to do something to solve this problem. national gas price issue,” Paterson said.