The Illinois midterm election results for governor shows promises of tax increases for those living in the state, with the mileage tax being bought about. This new tax has been proposed as the state is becoming to realize as vehicles are becoming more fuel efficient, the already nearly bankrupt state is realizing that tax revenue from vehicles has slightly been dwindling. Now the state wishes to impose taxes for every mile driven, without regards to who drives, where they live, and whether or not their vehicle is already paying the recently increased motor fuel use tax from $0.307 to $0.324 on gasoline/gasohol per gallon, and $0.334 to $0.349 per gallon of diesel fuel which took effect on June 30th, 2018. There are also other fees drivers face such as Annual Vehicle Registration, Environmental Impact Fee, and fees for using tolls. This new Vehicle Mileage Tax (VMT) has been implemented in Oregon on a volunteer pilot program, promising drivers higher returns on their taxes to compensate for reimbursement on the gas mileage tax, however this has not been outlined in Pritzker’s plan The Oregon Pilot program for the VMT has reported success, however the reporting didn’t take into account that drivers in rural areas drive off-road on many occasions, many times to cultivate their land. The reason Pritzker stated the VMT would benefit Illinois, is it will increase Illinois tax revenue on money used to build and maintain roads, both which depend on the Motor Fuel Use Tax. Pritzker later recanted this statement saying he denied ever proposing a new law in regards with this tax. Furthermore, the tax fails to acknowledge the fact that the options available are a GPS option, which many argue violates privacy, and the odometer option which doesn’t account for out of state travel, or driving on private land/roads. DuPage County has voted on whether or not the county should oppose property tax increases by 1%, and whether or not the county should oppose the proposed Vehicle Mileage Tax.
The main reason many people of rural Illinois will be put under pressure due to this tax is they drive significantly farther distances for going to work or simply going to the grocery store, where as those living in urban areas have greatly expanded forms of public transportation, and everything ranging from stores to where people work, is usually close by. In rural areas, some people will be driving miles to reach a destination that may very well be within walking distance for someone living in an urban area. The concern for this new tax is to account for the fact that some drive more on a road, leading to wear and tear. However, in rural areas, the roads are not exposed to vehicles nearly as much as the roads in the city of Chicago, which leads to much less wear-and-tear on the roads in rural areas, yet drivers in rural areas will still be paying for road destruction when the roads they primarily don’t see nearly as much road maintenance as those of urban areas.
The State of Illinois is notorious for tax hikes, and Pritzker has been labeled as the “Porcelain Prince” for disabling all of the toilets in one of his mansions to avoid tax payment on the property as a home. This same person has now been elected as the Governor of Illinois, a politician who spent $47.4 million on his campaign, twice as much as his opponent Bruce Rauner who spent 26.7 million. He has now outranked the President of the United States, Donald Trump, in terms of wealth, at a net worth of $3.2 billion.
-Mike Jakub Klusa