On May 18, newly elected Illinois Governor J.B Pritzker unveiled his new infrastructure plan designed to fix the crumbling roads and bridges that anyone who has been to Illinois has surely experienced. The total cost of this plan would be $41.5 billion, and would be supported by $1.8 billion in new and increased taxes.
To the average person, these new taxes would not be that big of a deal. After all, what is a little more money to fix the roads? Unfortunately, this tax plan is just one of many that Illinois has undertaken, with no improvement to the roads or schools— just more money disappearing into the Illinois bureaucracy while simultaneously crushing the poor and the middle class even more. Based on early indicators, this plan is no different than the rest.
Illinois Democrat — and some Republicans— will just continue the policy of tax and spend, while people flee the state at a rate of almost 45,000 people a year. We Illinois voters have been silent for too long while our elected officials continue to pass massive spending bills and force upon us new taxes to support them, and it’s about time we did something about it.
The most prominent example of the crushing new taxes being implemented in Illinois is the new gas tax hike. On its face, it only seems like a modest increase, from 19 cents to 38 cents a gallon. But Illinois is one of the few states that also pays state and local sales tax on gas, along with the state and federal gas taxes. The resulting gas tax burden is astronomically high, now tenth in the nation. The new gas tax would make Illinois the state with the highest gas taxes, which disproportionately hurts lower and middle class families, as they are the ones who spend the highest percentage of their income on gas.
But that’s not all, part of the same bill that includes the gas tax hike would also raise the registration renewal fee to $148 a year, just another burden on families already struggling to make ends meet. Ironically, the Democratic Party of the “Green New Deal” would also hurt drivers of electric vehicles, raising their renewal fee to $1,000.
The hurt does not stop there. Governor Pritzker also pushed an amendment through the Illinois Legislature to end the flat tax we currently have, and institute a progressive tax rate system that he labeled a “fair tax.” But this new tax system is hardly fair, and will cost the average Illinois family an extra $3,500 a year, along with taking an estimated 286,000 jobs out of a state that is already struggling to keep them. Pritzker claims that he will only raise the rates on the very wealthy, but history shows that that plan will never raise the amount of revenue he predicts and increases on the lower and middle class will eventually be implemented as well.
As an Illinois resident, these new tax increases deeply concern me. Struggling college students like myself, who are working hard to keep gas in their cars at all, will now face bigger hurdles to do so. Eventually, we too will have our income taxes raised, as the tax revenue coming in will once again fail to meet expectations.
For far too long we have allowed politicians in Springfield to tax us to death with nothing to show for it, as we also have the second highest property tax rate in the nation and a deficit and pension problem that has remained unsolved for decades.
The voters in Illinois must demand more of our elected officials, force them to cut spending, lower taxes, and remove bureaucratic inefficiency. If we want Illinois to be a place for future generations and still be able to reside in the state many of us were born in, we simply must demand better of the people who claim to represent us.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.