Rep. Chesney: Record spending doesn’t fix root causes
Illinois state Rep. Andrew Chesney (R-Freeport) is sounding the alarm about the state’s rising tax rates.
“With the increased motor fuel tax taking effect July 1, many citizens in Illinois are experiencing the first impacts to their household budgets as a result of Gov. [JR] Pritzker’s progressive tax-and-spend agenda,” Chesney wrote in a blog posted to his website. “I hardly ever have anyone tell me they think the ‘fix’ to our problems is simply to tax hard-working Illinoisans more.”
Things became even a little more pressing for already-stressed taxpayers earlier this month when the state’s gas tax doubled to 38 cents per gallon and at least 20 other provisions as higher taxes or raised fees across the state went into effect as part of Pritzker’s overall $45 billion capital spending plan.
“I’m not going to single out the motor fuel tax increase, specifically,” Chesney said. “We all know that our infrastructure in Illinois needs improvements. I support more modesty and conservatism in approaching our state finances, with a personal preference to not spend more than we bring in.”
Chesney said the so-called "Lockbox Amendment" passed in 2016, ensuring that all road and bridge funds are only spent for those functions, gives him hope that the capital plan won’t be the worst thing to hit Freeport.
“However, we must recognize these decisions do not hit a taxpayer’s household budget in a vacuum,” he added. “Increased motor fuel tax, vehicle registration fee increases, cigarette tax increases, parking taxes, increased sales taxes on online sales, and new gaming fees, all hit shores beginning July 1. When I was seeking this job, I contended that Illinois must live within its means and not raise taxes under any circumstances. As your state representative, my opinion hasn’t changed. Additional taxes and fees have and will never fix the underline problems in Illinois.”
Even with the overall $85 billion approved by lawmakers in Springfield to cover Pritzker’s entire state budget, Chesney laments the state’s “root cause” problems remain unchanged.
“Unaffordable pensions remain ignored, billions in unpaid bills still exist and property taxes remain totally out of control,” he said “Little concessions were made by the Democratic super-majorities to spur job creation or population growth as well. None of this has changed with these new taxes and fees and none of it will change under this leadership.”
In the end, Chesney sees only one way forward:
“We should not spend more than we bring in, and considering how far in debt we are, we should spend a lot less than we bring in and apply the difference to these root cause problems.”