(The Center Square) – A new report from the Illinois Policy Institute shows lawmakers and Gov. J.B. Pritzker have adopted tax hikes and fee increases that total 5.24 billion dollars since 2019
The 24 tax hikes and fee increases include the doubling of the motor fuel tax, raising vehicle registration fees and a cigarette tax hike, among others.
Illinoisans were already paying more for gas than neighboring states when gas taxes were 19 cents per gallon. The 19 cents per gallon was the 10th highest in the nation for gas taxes. Lawmakers and Pritzker has since doubled the state gas tax to more than 38 cents per gallon. Illinois now has the second-highest fuel taxes in the nation. Most of the tax and fee hikes will be used to pay for capital infrastructures programs statewide.
Despite collecting more revenue, the state’s total unfunded pension liability for Illinois’ five retirement systems was up again in the fiscal year 2020, hitting $144.2 billion, an increase of about $7 billion from the previous year.
Adam Schuster, of the Illinois Policy Institute, said that instead of raising taxes, the state should look at reallocating funds to programs that increase spending.
“A way to increase spending on these valuable programs is not by raising taxes,” Schuster said. “But by redistributing the money away from unproductive uses like throwing it after pension debt and using the money to fund programs that provide value to Illinois.”
Schuster also warned of future tax hikes.
“Pritzker’s way of thinking about things is the belief that it is better to take the money and spend it down in Springfield and let the politicians decide where it goes,” Schuster said. “I think the people of Illinois should be very worried about future tax hikes under this Governor.”
The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget did not return the request for comment.