CHICAGO — Illinois has a state budget but what some don’t know is that it includes a “hidden” fuel tax, one where the fund generated won’t be spent on the state’s roads, according to ABC News reports.
The budget bill is 583 pages long but a few pages delineate a fuel tax hike that’s expected to raise $95 million for the state.
Gas prices in Chicago are currently $0.44-a-gallon higher than the national average already, and will go up $0.04 to $0.05 a gallon.
"It's just ridiculous," said Daphne Stratta, of Chicago. "I mean, gas is already so expensive in this city, I try as much to go to the suburbs, just the taxing is getting more and more."
The cause is elimination of a 20-percent sales tax credit that was given to wholesalers on unleaded gas containing ethanol. Now, that cost will be passed along to consumers — $0.04 to $0.05 a gallon — depending on the person’s zipcode.
"It's gonna be a really big impact on me. It's gonna really limit where I'm gonna go and I'm gonna have to figure out a way to make up the extra money for my budget because I budget out how much gas I use a week," said John Foster of Chicago.
But because this is a sales tax, not a gas tax, the money goes into the general fund and not for road repairs, which has residents frustrated.
"What's very frustrating is that normally people believe that when you pay your gas taxes, that that money is supposed to go to roads," said State Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford.
Instead, some will go toward education. There is a provision in the budget that will give teachers a $250 tax credit when they spend their own money on qualified supplies for their classrooms.
And to add insult to injury, with so many roads needing repairs in Illinois, Syverson said it's likely lawmakers will have to look at raising the gas tax next year as well.