Group wants tax hike that will raise gas prices in Illinois

Illinois residents could be pumping out more money to the state, this time at the gas pump.

The Transportation for Illinois Coalition is comprised of labor, construction, and transportation agencies. They are behind the plan to eliminate the current fuel tax and replacing it with a 9.5 percent fuel wholesale tax.

Illinois State Representative Mike Smiddy is concerned about the proposed plan.

“By hitting the tax payers with more taxes, it will cause a lot more issues than it will help,” said Smiddy.

The coalition claims the federal government is not contributing to the state’s fund for building and maintaining roads and bridges. In fact, there has not been a federal fuel tax increase since 1993.  The group says more money is needed for the state’s infrastructure, but the federal government is not contributing.

Coalition co-chairman Doug Whitley stated the federal government has been “unreliable” in the past two federal highway bills. He stated that the states need to come up with their funds now.

Rep. Mike Smiddy doesn’t think a wholesale fuel tax is in the best interest of the people.

“We really need to focus on infrastructure projects and finding out a good solution to trying to fund them without trying to raise the taxes like they are currently looking at doing,” said Smiddy.

In the Quad Cities, Illinois residents pay on average 25 cents more per gallon at the pump than those across the river in Iowa.  That leads some Illinois residents in the Quad Cities to drive across the river to fill their tanks.

“We go across the river to Iowa to get gas,” said Desaray Young, who lives in Silvis, Illinois.

Others, like Matt Temple, face the struggles of owning a small business and needing to save every penny.

“Well, people like me who own a small business and stuff, gas is already high enough.  I travel to Iowa a lot to get gas,” said Temple.

For now, the plan is just a proposal and has yet to be submitted to state lawmakers. Talks for an official proposal to hike the wholesale gas tax in Illinois are likely to begin in the spring of 2014.

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