plainfield, springfield — Amid rising prices for drivers at the pump, state Rep. Mark Batinick has been pushing for legislation to cap the sales tax collected in Illinois for motor fuel.
Batinick, R-Plainfield, argued in a video published last Tuesday that drivers in Illinois are particularly hurt by rising gas prices because of not only state and local taxes on a per-gallon basis, but also the state’s additional sales tax. He said the plan would save drivers 10 to 30 cents a gallon and, would cap the sales tax on gas at 18 cents a gallon for motor fuel and 80% of that amount for gasohol and biodiesel.
“Rising gas prices have created a windfall of revenue for state and local governments of hundreds of millions of dollars,” Batinick said in the video. “It’s one they weren’t expecting, and it’s frankly one they don’t deserve.”
He argued that the rising prices disproportionately hurt middle- and low-income Illinoisans who pay a higher percentage of their income on energy costs. They are also less likely to drive newer, fuel-efficient vehicles, and “they certainly aren’t driving Teslas,” he said, referring to an electric car brand.
Batinick said the state’s tax on gas also “fuels the Chicago versus downstate divide.” He said people who live in the central and southern parts of the state are much less likely to have readily available public transportation to get to work or run errands.
Batinick criticized Democratic state lawmakers’ solution to pause the increase in the state’s motor fuel tax, estimated to be 2.2 cents a gallon, which was included in the budget approved earlier this year.
To address the issue, Batinick said in the video that he proposed H.B. 5723, which would cap the sales tax that could be charged based on where gas prices were “before the spike.”
“It keeps the money in the hands of the people being hurt the most,” he said.
Despite garnering more than 30 Republican co-sponsors, the bill was not passed during this spring’s legislative session in the House of Representatives.