Two days ahead of the start of a lame-duck session, state Rep. Allen Skillicorn, R-East Dundee, was in Springfield to rally against a possible motor fuel tax increase, which has drawn favor from some Chicago and suburban leaders.
Last month, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and a handful of suburban mayors called for a motor fuel tax increase of 20 to 30 cents a gallon to help prop up a major statewide transportation bill.
Skillicorn said that if approved, the increase would give Illinois the highest gas taxes in the nation and would put its gas tax 22 percent higher than the next state’s gas tax.
“This is significant,” Skillicorn told reporters during a news conference ahead of a planned rally Monday in the Capitol Rotunda. “This is also in addition to a 32 percent income tax raise that we just had a year ago.”
Instead, Skillicorn said, he would like to see whether the lockbox amendment on transportation funding adopted two years ago would work as advertised and add millions of dollars in funding for infrastructure improvements.
Skillicorn also said he would like to see what waves can be made on transportation funding at the federal level since it is one of the only issues President Donald Trump and Democratic legislators seem to be in agreement on.
“Rushing in to approve a massive gas tax hike just because fuel prices are low is reprehensible,” Skillicorn said in a news release. “We need to be strategic about funding roads, not predatory.”
Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn said during a panel in December that a motor fuel tax increase is inevitable to make better investments in transportation.
Skillicorn said Monday that he thinks Blankenhorn is out of touch with the overtaxed residents of Illinois.
After the news conference, Skillicorn and Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, joined a group of concerned residents and activists sporting yellow jackets for a rally opposing the gas tax increase.