Illinois state Rep. Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) | Rep Halbrook website
Illinois state Rep. Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) says taxpayers should feel a certain sense of discomfort every time they fill up their vehicles' gas tanks.
“Every time you fill up your tank straight to the corruption, waste and power of the Chicago Democrats,” Halbrook recently posted on Facebook amid reports that motorists in Illinois paid $100 million more at the pumps than last year during the first month of the state's new motor-fuel tax.
As of July 1, the state gas tax doubled to $38 cents a gallon as part of the state’s new $45 billion infrastructure plan. According to the Illinois Department of Revenue, Illinois motorists paid $203.7 million in gas taxes in July, nearly twice the $103.9 million during July 2018.
Illinois drivers pay an extra 19 cents per gallon of gas since the enactment of a state gas tax in July. | Upupa4me / Flickr
Making matters all the more maddening are the questions about potential waste and government abuse, given the recent federal raid on the home and office of longtime state Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago). As Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee until recently, Sandoval played a pivotal role in getting the gas tax doubled.
In the wake of the widening federal investigation, Gov. J.B. Pritzker has vowed to make certain all the money from the added tax is spent properly. After the tax was implemented, Halbrook joined a group of eight Republican legislators in blasting other GOP lawmakers who cast their votes in favor of the increase.
“To hear some Republican leaders talk about how we have to raise taxes because Illinois taxpayers don’t currently pay enough to cover our spending programs is shocking,” the group said. “These are Democrat talking points and they are embarrassing. We hear them say, 'We haven’t raised the gas tax since 1990.' What they fail to mention is that Illinois taxpayers are already burdened with a gas tax that is in the top 10 in the nation.”