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State Rep: Put Gasoline Taxes Toward Capital Construction Projects

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Kirk Dillard

Illinios State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) (Credit: Dillard for Governor)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — An Illinois lawmaker has revived his idea to put gasoline sales tax proceeds toward capital construction projects, replacing controversial video gambling as a revenue source.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports, state Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) says many lawmakers are uncomfortable with video poker machines, towns and counties are opting out of the law to allow them and the Illinois Gaming Board says they’re difficult to regulate.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports

Dillard says the state brings in several hundred million dollars through sales tax on gasoline every year which could be used for construction projects.

“I throw it out there as an alternative. If you don’t like video poker, one easy remedy is to move the sales tax on gas into the road fund and construction funds, where it should have been all along anyway,” Dillard said.

This is not the first time Dillard has proposed the switch. In fact, he said he would rather get rid of the sales tax on gas altogether.

However, Dillard says that is unrealistic in the “real world of Illinois.”

The state’s $31 billion capital construction program focuses on video poker as a revenue source. The program was challenged last year, on the grounds that it improperly combined several separate issues in one piece of legislation, violating the state constitution’s “single subject” requirement.

The program was to raise $31 billion for new public works projects by hiking taxes on liquor, soft drinks and candy, increasing driver’s license and license plate fees, and through legalized video poker.

The Illinois Appellate Court struck down the program in January, following the challenge by Blackhawks owner and liquor distributor Rocky Wirtz. But the state Supreme Court later upheld the program.

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