Representative Allen Skillicorn (R-Crystal Lake) along with State Reps. Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville), Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City), Chris Miller (R-Oakland), Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) and Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) announced today their intention to oppose the Governor’s proposed $41.5 billion transportation plan.
“It would be foolish to roll out a Capital plan before we have any idea what the federal government is going to do,” Skillicorn said. “The President is committed to getting an agreement on a federal infrastructure plan. It just makes sense to hold off on our plan until we know what is happening at the federal level. That would be the smart play, but it seems our Governor is more interested in sending a statement to President Trump then he is in doing the smart thing for Illinois residents.”
Pritzker’s plan comes with a laundry list of new tax increases including doubling the gasoline tax to 38 cents per gallon.
“Many communities in my district are not far from the Indiana border which means if we double the gasoline tax, we will create a huge incentive for people to drive to Indiana to fill up their vehicles,” Bailey said. “That also means the taxes on convenience store items will be going to Indiana and not to Illinois. Doubling the gas tax will have a negative impact on the economy in my district.”
Pritzker’s plan would also nearly double license plate renewals and would raise taxes on real estate transfers. Cable, satellite, and streaming services would see tax increases, along with video gaming. Even beer would be taxed with the Governor’s plan.
“This is nothing more than yet another massive tax increase on Illinois residents,” Halbrook said. “Illinois already has the highest combination of state and local taxes in the country. We do not need to raise taxes even more than we already have.”
President Trump is calling for a $2 trillion infrastructure plan which could bring $400 billion ($2 trillion divided by 50 states) or more to Illinois.
“The Governor’s plan is peanuts compared to what we could potentially have for road improvement projects with the President’s plan,” Miller said. “The Governor and the leaders in the House and the Senate should put partisan differences aside and work with the White House to get a federal infrastructure plan passed.”
Rep. Wilhour said the focus right now should be on fixing the state’s unfunded pension liability, which stands at about $250 billion.
“This spring, all we have talked about is ways to raise taxes on Illinois residents,” Wilhour said. The Governor even wanted to tax plastic bags. We have spent a lot of time discussing tax increases and virtually no time at all discussing ways to resolve the State’s pension crisis. This is unacceptable. We need to at least have a plan to deal with the State’s unfunded pension liability before we do a capital bill.”
Rep. Caulkins said he is urging other legislators to join in opposition to the Governor’s Capital plan.
“No one is denying the fact that Illinois has tremendous transportation needs, but we have to be smart in how we do this,” Caulkins said. “We as legislators should stand up and demand a plan for reform, a plan to reduce the cost of government and a plan to address the pension crisis before we give the Governor billions of dollars to dole out.”