Pritzker gas tax hike taking effect on New Year’s Day

gas prices

Even without upcoming gas tax hikes, Illinoisans already pay the second-highest gas taxes in the nation thanks to Gov. J.B. Pritzker doubling the state gas tax to 38 cents per gallon from 19 cents in 2019. | Photo courtesy of Pexels.com

Gas prices nationwide are going down, but gas taxes in Illinois are going up in the new year. Illinois is scheduled for two gas tax increases in 2023, first Jan. 1 and then July 1.

The increase amount isn’t official yet, but Illinois Policy Institute estimates roughly a 3-cent increase per gallon to 42.4 cents starting Jan. 1.

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Illinoisans are already familiar with high gas prices, which are the highest in the Midwest, according to AAA.

Gas tax hikes disproportionally hurt lower-income residents, who give up a larger percentage of their paycheck to pay for gas.

Even without upcoming gas tax hikes, Illinoisans already pay the second-highest gas taxes in the nation thanks to Gov. J.B. Pritzker doubling the state gas tax to 38 cents per gallon from 19 cents in 2019. He also added automatic annual hikes for inflation that drove the rate to 39.2 cents but delayed the 2022 increase until after the election – leading to two hikes in 2023.

Lawmakers were debating a bill that would’ve avoided a double increase in 2023. Unfortunately for Illinoisans, House Bill 5829 is stuck in the rules committee, commonly known as the place where bills go to die.

Gas tax revenue is intended to exclusively pay for roads, and politicians said they needed to double the state gas tax to pay for $45 billion in infrastructure. But $4 billionof the construction plan was put toward pork projects such as dog parks and pickleball courts – projects that are good for politicians’ campaigns, but do nothing to help drivers find a smoother ride or get where they need to go.

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