Tuesday, November 24, 2015 02:00 PM
- Motor Fuel Tax
Senate Democrats working to get gas tax back to locals
Across Illinois, motorists pay millions of dollars in state gas taxes, money that’s supposed to go back to communities to pay for patching potholes, plowing snow, road salt and other road maintenance.
But that money is stuck in Springfield, a victim of the lingering budget impasse.
With winter conditions approaching, Illinois Senate Democrats understand how important this money is to local communities. Senate Democrats twice approved plans to get local gas tax money back in the hands of local officials where it can do some good. Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the first. The second remains pending at the Capitol.
Senate Democrats are alerting their communities about how much money is being held and what the local impacts are:
- “It is the duty of your state government to collect and allocate funds,” said state Sen. Kimberly A. Lightford, a Chicago Democrat who also represents area townships and municipalities, such as River Forest and La Grange Park in the Illinois Senate. “Unfortunately at the behest of the governor, your state government has only collected your tax dollars. It is high time we send back the tax money you deserve to sustain your community.”
- “This whole ordeal has been frustrating,” said State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, who represents Bolingbrook and other communities in Will and Kendall Counties in the Illinois Senate. “The money belongs to the community.”
- “It’s not right,” said State Sen. Dave Koehler, a Peoria Democrat. “This is your money. State government is supposed to simply collect it and send it back.”
- "Joliet last year received over $3.6 million in Motor Fuel Tax," Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) said. "Bolingbrook received $1.8 million, Romeoville almost $1 million and Lockport over $600,000. Our local governments are depending on this money. The longer they're forced to wait, the greater the pinch grows on local taxpayers."
- “This is your money Governor Rauner is holding hostage,” said State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign). “It’s clear that this money belongs in the hands of the people. As we head into the winter months, communities need these funds to stay safe.”
- “This money belongs to the communities whose drivers bought gas and paid the tax; it doesn’t belong to the state,” Collins said. “I’m extremely concerned that the governor’s refusal to release these funds will create unsafe conditions on our roads, especially as winter weather intensifies. In September, I voted for a measure that would give back these tax dollars to towns and counties so road maintenance can continue even while budget negotiations are stalled, but legislative Republicans opposed it. I will continue pushing to right this wrong as soon as possible.”
“Since the beginning, I’ve been voting to do the responsible thing and provide the state with a budget,” said state Sen. Linda Holmes, who represents Aurora. “This money is being delayed because Governor Rauner has blocked it, but it’s time to get serious about people’s safety.”
“Governor Rauner is holding your money hostage,” said State Senator Tom Cullerton, a DuPage County Democrat who also represents Villa Park in the Illinois Senate. “Last weekend, DuPage County received over seven inches of snow. Imagine what will happen to our communities when we don’t have the money to put salt on our roads and keep snow plows running.”
- “Again and again, this governor insists on making Southern Illinoisans pay for his pro-business agenda,” said Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton). “Using our safety as a bargaining chip is reckless and potentially deadly. We can’t sit by the wayside and let this governor put our families in harm’s way.”
“The gas tax money needs to go back to the local communities where it belongs,” said Senator Bill Cunningham, who represents parts of Oak Lawn and Orland Park. “We passed legislation that would give the money to local communities and the governor decided to veto that legislation.”
- “For Gov. Rauner’s administration to accuse Democratic lawmakers of stalling the release of Motor Fuel Tax dollars to the communities they represent is disingenuous,” Senator Don Harmon (Oak Park) said. “This is just another example of the damage the governor is willing to do to achieve his pro-business agenda. Withholding money for transportation needs is about as anti-business as it gets.”
“It’s ridiculous,” said state Sen. Toi Hutchinson, a Chicago Heights Democrat who also represents a majority of Kankakee County in the Illinois Senate. “State government’s role is simply to collect the money and send it back.”
The chart below from the Illinois Department of Transportation shows how much gas tax money every county received from the state last in calendar year 2014.
MFT Allotment for Calendar Year 2014 (By County)