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Illinois Democrats Force Gas Stations To Advertise Their Delay Of A 2-Cent Gas Tax Increase

‘I’m amazed that they want to pat themselves on the back for a 2.2 cents stoppage of a tax increase.’

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A new law passed by Illinois Democrats over the weekend will compel private retailers to advertise lawmakers’ temporary tax break. That break amounts to breadcrumbs for consumers forced to cope with record gas prices, amplified by gas taxes that are among the highest rates in the nation.

In the early hours Saturday morning, the state legislature passed a new budget that will require gas stations to post signs to celebrate Democrats’ delay of a 2.2 cent increase of the gas tax scheduled for July. Residents already pay the fourth-highest gas taxes in the country at more than 40 cents per gallon, according to federal data.

Under the Democrats’ new plan headed to the governor’s desk, the advertisements must read, “As of July 1, 2022, the State of Illinois has suspended the inflation adjustment to the motor fuel tax through December 31, 2022. The price on this pump should reflect the suspension of the tax increase.”

Grocery stores must also publish a note on receipts that the state suspended a 1 percent tax on groceries for a year.

“From July 1, 2022 through July 1, 2023, the State of Illinois sales tax on groceries is 0%,” reads the mandatory text.

If doing so is not feasible, retailers are required to post a sign at least 4 by 8 inches “that is clearly visible to customers.” Failure to comply within 14 days of the law’s passage will result in $500 daily fines, or, $65,500 through election day.

“When people hear the whole story, I think they’re going to be mocked, specifically on the gas tax,” Republican State Rep. Mark Batinick told The Federalist.

Some have already mocked the proposal online, comparing the 2.2 cent tax suspension to the “I did that” stickers of President Joe Biden that have popped up on gas pumps across the country. The stickers, blaming the White House for rising prices since inauguration, sell for packs of 100 for less than $5 on Amazon.

While other states move to suspend gas taxes entirely however, Illinois’ delay of a scheduled summer tax increase is unlikely to lift a heavy burden on residents.

“It’s like 50-60 cents cheaper in the states around us and they want to advertise that it could have been 52.2 cents,” Batinick said. “I’m amazed that they want to pat themselves on the back for a 2.2 cents stoppage of a tax increase.”

The annual tax adjustment for inflation was scheduled when Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker doubled the Illinois gas tax in 2019 from 19 cents per gallon to 38 cents. No stickers were required at the time informing residents of the tax hike.

The Illinois Fuel and Retail Association threatened legal action over the new law last week ahead of the legislature’s weekend vote.

“This industry won’t be forced into offering free election year advertising for the Governor,” said the trade group’s Josh Sharp. “Ordering businesses to take part in speech that is compelled by the government under the threat of fines and criminal penalties is unwise and unconstitutional.”

The Illinois Fuel and Retail Association did not respond to The Federalist’s request for further comment.