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HomeIllinois NewsIllinois' 2003 fee hikes handed Indiana a trucking industry explosion

Illinois’ 2003 fee hikes handed Indiana a trucking industry explosion




SPRINGFIELD – Numbers from the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CoGFA) show Illinois' decision to hike trucking license fees in 2003 blocked the state from the current national transportation boom and paved the way for Indiana's to explode. 

Indiana showed 599,956 trucks licensed at the end of 2018, up 516% from 116,250 trucks licensed in 2003. 

At the same time, Illinois' trucking licenses went down 11%. In 2003, IL had 175,223 trucks. That number declined to 155,245 at the end of 2018.

"These numbers are sad but predictable when taxes and fees are raised compared to our neighbors," commented Jim Economos, DDS.  "Our block-headed Illinois legislators don't  seem to grasp such a simple concept of competition with our neighboring states."

Economos first drew attention to the effect of Illinois tripling its truck licensing fees from $1000 to $3000 as one of former Governor Rod Blagojevich's first acts three years ago. He gathered truck registrations through State Rep. Tom Morrison's office and found during the same time Indiana went from 88,000 trucks to 315,000 –  a 358% increase.

Iowa was up by 12 percent, Kentucky was up by 46 percent, Michigan up by 30 percent, Missouri and Wisconsin up by 43 percent.  

"This is a huge negative swing for Illinois businesses, and it directly affects the way people are employed in this industry," Economos wrote in a 2015 op-ed for Illinois Review. "We gave Indiana our trucking business for free." 

Recently, Dr. Economos asked for the latest figures on "power units" licensed in neighboring states and Illinois. 

"The new numbers are a huge win for Indiana and an embarrassment for Illinois," Economos said.

Those stats show that Illinois' neighboring states have 130-155 % more trucks compared to 2003 – with the exception of Indiana, which skyrocketed by 516%.

Illinois decreased the number of registered power units during the ongoing transportation boom.

"Sad, but predictable, when taxes and fees are raised compared to our neighbors," Economos said. "Our block-headed Illinois legislators don't seem to grasp such a simple concept of competition with our neighboring states. This is sad to see and is quite preventable, but as long as people keep electing Illinois Democrats, things will not change. We also need our Republican friends to stop being so timid and step up the plate so we can have the same success like our neighboring states have."

Below are graphs reflecting the 2018 CoGFA figures provided through Rep. Tom Morrison's office: 

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  1. A well-respected financial magazine recently released the results of their study which ranked the least tax friendly states in the nation. Illinois was found to be the #1 least tax friendly state in the nation; not a surprise to many of us. The state of Illinois also ranks 50th, dead last in the ranking of states’ fiscal health by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University; even with Illinoisans having the heaviest overall tax burden in the nation. The democrat controlled Illinois government is the best at being the worst.

  2. It’s a pity that this state was too stupid to exploit its natural gas resources in the fracking era. I’m afraid that it isn’t economically viable anymore to extract those resources. That would have created real jobs for real people. Instead, we got more college!