Halbrook calls on lawmakers to reject gas tax hike
State Rep. Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) is demanding Democrats now in control in Springfield think of everyone before they make the same mistake he feels they did in 2011, when they pushed through a massive tax increase during a lame duck session.
“We do not need a repeat of what happened in 2011,” Halbrook told the Chambana Sun. “That vote occurred in the middle of the night, while most people were asleep. There was strong opposition to how that tax increase became law. We should not go down that road again.”
This time the increase would come in the form of a gas tax hike that would give Illinois the dubious distinction of having the highest such tax in the country.
The Free Beacon reports outgoing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently threw his support behind an increase of up to 30 cents a gallon, with the revenue funding state infrastructure projects. Suburban mayors are voicing their support, and Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker has expressed an openness to the idea as part of a larger capital spending bill.
“Rahm Emanuel's proposal would make Illinois the state with the highest gas tax in the country,” Halbrook added. “We can't do this to middle-class working families. Not only that, we have numerous border communities in our state. What kind of impact would this have on businesses in these border communities? Raising the gas tax is a terrible idea.
“Illinois is already home to some of the highest state and local taxes in the country,” he said. “Our property taxes are high and Illinois taxpayers are propping up nearly 7,000 units of local government. We can't keep raising taxes in Illinois. A new report shows Illinois has lost another 45,000 residents this year. That's twice the size of my home county. We are losing residents because we are taxing them too much. We need to take a step back and rethink what we are doing in Illinois.”
Halbrook said he’s always been against the use of lame-duck sessions to enact lasting state policy.
“We need to take a comprehensive approach to transportation funding, and we also need to see what is going to happen at the federal level as Democrats and Republicans both are wanting a major transportation-funding initiative,” he said. “We should wait and see what happens at the federal level before raising taxes here in Illinois.”