Dan Caulkins, candidate for state representative in the 88th District, recently gave his opinion on the issue of high taxes in Illinois.
Caulkins criticized Gov. J.B. Pritzker's management of federal COVID relief funds and PPP loans during the pandemic.
"I would probably give him a 'D' with the real issue being the General Assembly gave him carte blanche and didn't do our job by mandating how these funds should be spent," Caulkins told Chambana Sun. "A lot of this money is being spent to prop up legislators and the governor for the upcoming election. It was a huge slush fund for the governor."
Illinois' property tax rate is the second highest in the nation at 2.27%, behind only New Jersey, according to a June report by Rocket Mortgage. The owner of a $194,500 home in Illinois will pay $4,942 annually in property taxes. 30 states have property tax rates lower than 1%.
"You like to feel you're getting something back for your tax dollars and honestly the high property taxes in Illinois seem to be going nowhere. They're detrimental to our growth in terms of population and businesses that elect to boycott the state. One of the big reasons for those things are the high property taxes and the democrats in Springfield and all the mandates they keep passing with no funding. It's like they just pass everything down to the local governments."
Pritzker doubled Illinois' gas tax from 19 cents to 38 cents in 2019, according to Fox News. Pritzker also instituted an annual gas tax increase. Illinois Democrats passed legislation postponing this year's scheduled gas tax increase of 2.2 cents from July to January, Fox News reported.
The gas tax increase delay was part of a bundle of tax rebates and delays in the record $46.5 billion FY 23 budget, according to Illinois Policy. The tax rebates and delays will save the average Illinois family $556. The 2.2 cents increase to the gas tax will take effect on Jan. 2023, and will be followed by another increase in July 2023, likely of 3.8 cents per gallon, bringing Illinois' total gasoline tax up to 45.2 cents per gallon.
Caulkins thinks that the move is just a PR move and doesn't go far enough to help Illinois families and would prefer more permanent tax relief reform.
"It gives people a false sense of hope. By postponing the inevitable, it just means we get two tax rate increases next year. I think it was totally done for political reasons," Caulkins said. "Again, it's an election year gimmick that means very little relief to people. While any relief can help. We need permanent relief and this election year stuff that's going to come back after the election. We should have suspended these taxes for six months because of the windfall income the state took in from the price of gas."
A March report by WalletHub found that Illinois has the tenth overall highest tax burden in the nation at 9.7%. The report weighed property taxes, income taxes, and sales and excise taxes.
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