By Matt Podgorski
Republican Candidate for Cook County Commissioner, 9th district
Yes, the price of gas is too damn high. Today’s gas prices are up 60% since just 2 years ago--an enormous hit to the average family and small business. But the story is even worse in Illinois, and especially Chicago and Cook County.
International turmoil, production disruptions, and other factors contribute significantly to the prices we pay at the pump, but those are factors largely outside our control.
What else is responsible for these record high fuel prices here at home? Double taxation on fuel by state and local governments. Our elected officials can and must take immediate action to get meaningful relief and results.
According to AAA, Illinois gas prices are the 7th highest in the nation. That’s in part due to the state also having the nation’s 2nd highest fuel taxes.
Illinois is one of only 7 states that charges a percentage sales tax on top of its per gallon motor fuel taxes. And, of course, local and county governments layer on their own sales taxes, too.
So, soaring prices at the pump means local and state governments are getting an unexpected windfall of sales tax revenue—all at consumer expense. THIS IS WRONG. Citizens should not be paying extra taxes on gas during these times.
Residents and businesses who buy fuel in Cook County are paying more than $1 in taxes for every gallon purchased. Our midwestern neighbors are paying about half that, which translates to $5 to $10 in cost savings for every tank fill-up.
No wonder border town gas stations and storefronts advertise “No Cook County Taxes!”
I will fight to end Cook County’s percentage-based fuel sales tax and replace it with a flat, per gallon sales tax. This would protect consumers as the underlying cost of fuel continues to rise.
At the state level, Illinois Senate Republicans have proposed SB4195. It would cap the state’s sales tax on fuel to a flat 18 cents per gallon, rather than based on the percentage of the overall sale. I support their plan, as well.
Like housing and food, gas is an essential purchase for most families living and working in Cook County. Some of its dramatically increased cost is an unnecessary and intolerable burden on our residents and businesses.
Illinois and local government officials must act now to limit the damage its already done by over taxation.
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