Illinois Legislature Plans To Tax Drivers 1.5 Cents A Mile

Philip DeVoe Contributor
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The Illinois Senate is considering a bill that will tax drivers 1.5 cents per mile they drive, because of a loophole in the state’s current gas taxation law that excuses owners of electric cars, starting July 2017.

“If all the cars were electric, there would be no money for the roads,” Illinois State Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, told the Daily Herald, a suburban Chicago paper. “The Prius owners are the reason we need this bill.”

The bill, which Cullerton is spearheading, said car owners or lessees can choose one of three ways by which the state will measure mileage. Two of those ways involve a device within the car, which will either track GPS location and stop measuring when the driver leaves public roads or monitor odometer readings. The third option is a flat tax, where a driver would pay $450 each year, the equivalent of driving 30,000 miles on the 1.5 cent tax, and not be monitored.

Illinois drivers are already plagued with the second-highest gas prices in the nation, due to heavy taxing at the city and state levels, so Cullerton’s bill will include a tax refund for drivers to ensure they aren’t double taxed.

The bill will also create the Illinois Road Improvement and Driver Enhancement Commission for the purpose of administering the conditions of the bill, and create an advisory board for the I-RIDE Commission. According to the Illinois Policy Institute, the chairman of the commission will receive an annual salary of $18,000 and the four other members will receive a salary of $15,000.

“The administration of such a large-scale tracking and monitoring system seems a behemoth task – with every possibility of going awry, considering the layers of bureaucracy that would be needed to administer such a program,” writes Hilary Gowins, of IPI, a research and educational organization aimed at promoting personal freedom and prosperity in Illinois.

10.4 million cars are registered in Illinois, and, due to the tremendous financial undertaking this bill promises, Republican state senators, such as Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine, have already expressed criticism at the current state of the bill.

“This one will probably require a thorough vetting,” Murphy told the Daily Herald.

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