Tax Relief

Chicago gasoline costs: Mayor Lori Lightfoot says metropolis taking a look at gasoline tax relief proposal

CHICAGO (WLS) — A trip to the gas station these days is nothing but painful.

“It’s pretty bad, especially at $4.99, but we have to get to places we have to buy it,” said Zayne McCorkle.

“It’s affecting me because I’m taking money out of my kids’ mouths and pockets to take them to school, so it’s really crazy,” added James Jamison.

The prices are crazy, especially if you fill up your tank in Chicago, where drivers pay the highest prices in the state.

“The average driver pays an effective tax rate of about 33% that drives up the cost of your gas by a third just from state and local taxes,” said Adam Schuster with Illinois Policy Institute.

Chicago drivers pay a state 39.2 cents per gallon motor fuel tax, an additional $.08 for a city gas tax and another $.06 for Cook County.

“Everybody also pays a 1.1 cents for an environmental and underground storage fee, and top of that, Illinois is one of only seven states that levies a sales tax on top of its motor fuels tax for gasoline,” Schuster added.

Drivers want a break and others are calling for tax freezes amid the high gas prices.

“People have to drive to get to work, to get to school to church, groceries — and we have to figure out a way that we can do our part to provide some relief,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot Thursday.

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Chicago’s mayor said she is working on a plan to provide relief. This, after Lightfoot increased the city’s gas tax by $.03 per gallon at the start of 2021.

The City Council Finance Committee will consider whether to change that on Monday.

Governor JB Pritzker also wants to temporarily freeze an automatic increase in the state tax that is set to kick in July 1. Although, freezes could translate into losing revenue for road and bridge projects.

“Gas taxes everywhere are supposed to pay for transportation infrastructure,” Shuster said.

The biggest critics of gas tax freezes are from organizations who are traditionally supporters of democrats, especially during the election season. However, labor unions are worried about the loss of jobs that could come from the loss of road repair money.

Still, Pritzker claims his temporary gas freeze proposal will not hurt any current and planned transportation projects. Meantime, Lightfoot is calling on the Illinois attorney general to investigate possible price gouging.

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