Gov. Pritzker's capital plan leaves door open for more gas tax hikes in Chicago, some suburbs
Gov. J.B. Pritzker's newly signed $45 billon capital spending plan gives Chicago officials the option to hike the city's gas tax by an extra 3 cents, on top of the state's 19-cent raise that went into effect July 1.
Illinois' gasoline tax doubled at the beginning of the month, hitting 38 cents per gallon from 19 cents. Chicago now has the right to raise that tax even higher to 41 cents per gallon at pumps within the city limits. Government watchdog groups have said the average Illinois driver can expect to pay $100 more per year for gas in 2020.
Under the new capital plan, Chicago and some suburban counties get the ability to add local gas tax increases on top of the state tax. DuPage, Kane and McHenry counties can now raise their local gas tax by 4 cents per gallon, and Lake County and Will County can boost their local gas tax by 8 cents per gallon.
Pritzker says the gas tax hike and some 20 other new taxes and fees are needed to pay for required infrastructure spending as well as to provide revenue for the state's fiscal year 2020 budget. Vehicle registration fees have gone up from $98 to $148. The cost of license-plate stickers will go up in 2020. Taxes and fees are also going up on tobacco, e-cigarettes, video games, parking and real-estate transfers.
The new gas tax hikes have pushed Illinois from being the 10th highest-ranked state for its gas tax burden to the 3rd highest in the nation. If Chicago and surrounding counties exercise their options to hike their local shares of state gas tax revenues, Illinois will rise to 2nd worst in the nation or possibly even the state with the nation's highest gas tax burden.
Expect gas taxes to continue rising, experts say, because the new capital plan has tied the gas tax to inflation. If inflation predictions hold up, Illinois gas taxes will rise by almost a penny a gallon per year until 2025.