BLOOMINGTON (Heartland Newsfeed) — Illinoisans already pay a variety of high taxes, including at the pump.Illinois state Rep. Dan Brady (R-Bloomington) has made his position clear on whether the state needs higher gas taxes to fund Illinois’ infrastructure needs: He opposes a gas tax hike. “I’m not in support of raising the gas tax,” Brady said in an interview with WJBC radio. Springfield politicians from both parties are seeking a new capital bill – and tax hikes to pay for it – now that the 2018 budget has been passed. New state infrastructure spending is typically funded by a capital bill, with its own set of debt and dedicated funds. The state last passed a capital bill in 2009, when it appropriated $31 billion for new infrastructure projects. Brady clarified his stance on the capital bill after the Illinois Policy Institute initially reported Brady was supportive of a gas tax hike for new infrastructure. The Institute reporting was based on Brady’s September 15 interview with Illinois Watchdog Radio’s Benjamin Yount, wherein Brady responded to the question of how high gas taxes might go. Brady has since gone on record in an interview with WJBC radio to clarify his position on a potential gas tax hike. He opposes raising gas taxes and says the state should pursue other options to fund capital projects instead:
“It’s going to take other ideas. There’s going to be some type of bonding, public-private partnerships, other areas we could actually cut within certain areas and apply that towards capital. … But I’m not supportive of raising the gas tax to get us there.”It’s good to know that Brady is opposed to inflicting yet another painful tax hike on Illinoisans, especially considering the recent tax hikespree state and Chicago-area politicians have been on. Brady also opposed the $5 billion income tax hike included in the 2018 budget, which was the largest permanent income tax increase in state history. Lawmakers have lost the right to impose yet another burden on taxpayers. They have yet to fix the pension crisis, pass a truly balanced budget, reduce property tax burdens, or remove burdensome costs on job creators. A capital plan is imperative to making Illinois more competitive and to addressing any urgent infrastructure needs, but lawmakers should focus on enacting structural reforms, pursuing private investments, and crafting sensible public-private partnerships to fund any new plan. Every lawmaker should go on record regarding the funding of a potential capital plan. They can either support reforms or once again put the burden on already-struggling taxpayers. At least then constituents would know where their lawmakers stand.
Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.