What’ll It Be, Illinois: Gas Tax or Mileage Tax?
Not much of a choice for Illinois' consumers, but when our state needs to drop $41 billion over the next 10 years on fixing our roads and updating our infrastructure, lawmakers are looking at a big reach into your pockets.
The Metropolitan Planning Council says they realize that $41 billion is a really high number, but they also point out that the problem will get a lot worse if we choose to ignore it.
How does Illinois go about gathering that kind of cash? Well, state lawmakers are looking at a couple of options, although most Illinoisans probably won't like either one.
From Reboot Illinois:
The MPC argues the state will need to raise $2.7 billion a year, half to spend and half to go towards bonds. The Illinois Senate has used the MPC’s estimates to draft legislation that would raise the gas tax by 30 cents, making it the highest gas tax in the nation.
Of course, not everyone is happy with that proposal. The Illinois Chamber of Commerce says Illinois needs to look into other options to fix roads. The Chamber’s recommendation includes an increased state income tax and a lower wholesale gas tax, while getting rid of some tax exemptions for goods like food and medicine.
Okay, how do you feel about Option #1? Before you decide, let's see what Reboot Illinois reports Option #2 would be:
Senate President John Cullerton has proposed a different way to get around a gas tax hike; a mileage tax. Illinoisans would pay 1.5 cents per mile in one of three payment options. From the Daily Herald:
Drivers could have a device that tracks the miles through geolocation technology, charging only for the miles driven on public highways and roads.
Alternatively, they could have an odometer tracker, which reports only number of miles driven, not where. The downside to this, notes Susan Martinovich of CH2M, an environmental and engineering consulting firms, is that drivers would be charged for miles driven out of state.
Finally, Illinoisans could opt out of installing any devices and pay a flat mileage tax of 1.5 cents per mile for 30,000 miles.
A mileage tax would also help the state raise revenue even as gas usage declines, thanks to better fuel efficiency and electric cars. The MPC’s plan also recommended Illinois stop raising funds tied to gas purchases eventually. It pushed for a mileage tax system by 2025.
Yeah...not too thrilled with that option, either.
Maybe Illinois Senate President John Cullerton can persuade us...
Judging by the comments to the video, I'm thinking that Cullerton has a lot more convincing to do.