SPRINGFIELD – Twenty Republican House members voted to raise Illinois' gas tax to be the 3rd highest in the nation – almost as high as California and Pennsylvania's. The hike will go to fund Governor Pritzker's $45 Billion capital improvement program – the majority of which will be going to fund projects in Democrat districts.
The 19 cents per gallon gas tax hike will take effect Monday, July 1st – and there's a lot of interest in who exactly is responsible for this painful additional tax burden on Illinois drivers. The Democrat leadership really, really wanted the vote to be bi-partisan – so they wouldn't take the blame for it as a party.
The Democrat leadership pushed the vote on Pritzker's capital improvement bill past midnight May 31st so a super-majority would be required in both chambers. That put the pressure on the super-minority Republican Senate Caucus to come up with some votes so they could get some crumbs from the $45 billion capital improvement feast about to take place.
Indeed, the Democrats awarded themselves twice as much per district as they're giving the poor sap voters that put Republicans into office – $6 million per Democrat district versus $3 million per Republican district.
So, 20 Republican state reps – including Minority Leader Jim Durkin — voted "yes" on SB 1939 that raises the gas tax to 38 cents a gallon, and one – Keith Wheeler – voted present. The House members that voted to hike Illinois gas tax were: Bennett, Bourne, Brady, Bryant, Butler, Demmer, Durkin, Frese Keicher, Marron, Mazzochi, McAuliffe, McDermed, Meier, Murphy, Reick, Severin, Sosnowski and Welter.
Those votes allowed six Democrats to vote "no" – Bristow, Costa-Howard, Mason, Pappas, Reitz, and Stuart – and be able to say to angry voters at the next election, "Hey, I voted no on the gas tax hike!"
So are Republicans really the "anti-tax" party in Illinois? Or are they anti-tax only when it's convenient?
Will Illinois conservatives care at all? We can assume they will be paying attention when they fill up their tanks after July 1.
The vote for reference – Red circles GOP state reps that voted "yes" and blue circles are Democrat state reps that voted "no" -
Margo McDermed is becoming a huge disappointment lately!
More often than not she is a disappointment.