State Rep. Caulkins views gas-tax bill proposal as another slight to the needs of downstate Illinois
Republican state Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) views Springfield’s continued push for more tax revenues as putting the cart before the horse.
“How can you be asking taxpayers for more money before you’ve even done the job of explaining to them what any of it would be used for,” Caulkins exclaimed in an interview with Chambana Sun. “We’re already collecting plenty of money from residents across this state with no explanation for how a lot of it is being spent.”
Caulkins insisted that is part of the reason for his reluctance about a state gas-tax bill now being proposed that would double current rates and make Illinois home to the second-highest overall gas tax burden in the country. In addition to raising the state gas tax from 19 cents to 38 cents as early as July of this year, Senate Bill 103 would also steadily allow increases based on a formula tied to inflation and jack up license-plate fees by at least $50.
“Everyone recognizes that our roads and bridges are in terrible shape and something needs to be done,” Caulkins added. “But the thing is this can’t just be another project for Chicago. We need to be mindful everything doesn’t start South of I-80. We depend on roads and bridges as much anyone.”
Caulkins, who won the 101st District in November with nearly 70 percent of the vote, said Democrats have a habit of ignoring the needs of downstate residents.
“I don’t think Democrats understand the needs of downstate Illinois,” he said. “As lawmakers, they should be focused on the well-being of the entire state and not just their part of the world. We might be at a disadvantage by the numbers, but the needs of downstate residents are real.”
The 101st House District includes parts of Champaign, DeWitt, Macon, McLean and Piatt counties.