Ill. Pol Calls for Gas Tax Repeal

Mitchell looks to governor, Blago looks to AG

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- State Representative Bill Mitchell (R) has asked Governor Rod Blagojevich to call a special session to repeal Illinois' gasoline tax and provide relief to the state's consumers affected by high gasoline prices, reported the Decatur Tribune.

Illinois is one of only eight states that taxes gas at the pump, said Mitchell. The state is essentially profiting on the backs of the consumer, and we just shouldn't do that. I have written a letter to the Governor urging him to call a special session to revoke the state sales tax on gas in an [image-nocss] effort to save Illinois citizens' hard earned dollars.

In a letter to the Illinois Attorney General's Office, Mitchell also called for the office to investigate oil companies in terms of price gouging. Gasoline in Central Illinois jumped 26 cents in just a few hours today to $2.75 a gallon, said Mitchell. You can't tell me the value of gas in those tanks went up that much in just a few hours. Consumers want to know why has there been a spike in gas prices and who is making the money?

Mitchell said the funds collected for the state's sales tax on gasoline is placed into the General Revenue Fund to be used for projects unrelated to roadway repair. In an economy as delicate as ours, when gas goes up to nearly $3 a gallon, it is going to have an adverse effect on the economy and those living on a fixed income, he said. This problem is really hitting your household's pocketbooks, and we must do something now to conserve valuable dollars for Illinois residents and those traveling our roadways.

As reported in CSP Daily News, the governor has already asked AG Lisa Madigan to watch for gasoline price gouging in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

In his letter to AG Madigan, Blagojevich said, While losing a significant portion of our nation's domestic oil production will likely cause an increase in oil prices, it is critical that we ensure that no one be allowed to use this natural disaster as an excuse to exploit consumers. The vast majority of gas stations would never consider using a natural disaster like a hurricane to increase prices any more than dictated by the market, but there are always a few bad apples. Unfortunately, the actions of those few bad apples could mean higher gas prices for drivers. Considering the high price of gas already, we must take every possible step to prevent price gouging from taking place.

In Illinois, Blagojevich has boosted fuel supplies and helped reduce the demand for gasoline through three initiatives: promoting the use of renewable fuel, monitoring the gas consumption and encouraging state government to use renewable fuels. For promoting the use of renewable fuels, he has provided $80 million to further research, production and consumption of ethanol in Illinois, including eliminated the state sales tax on some biodiesel fuels and E-85 (85% ethanol fuel), creating a 15-cents-per-gallon tax break. He established the Renewable Fuels Development Program at the state Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity that is investing millions in new ethanol production in Illinois. And he tripled the number of E-85 fueling stations statewide to 44 with the goal of adding another 66 new E-85 stations statewide by the end of 2006.