St. Clair supervisor says cutting wasteful spending better than hiking gas tax
Dave Barnes, St. Clair Township supervisor, is short and to the point in expressing his opposition to a rumored gas tax hike now being considered for Illinois.
“It is pushing people out of Illinois, and Illinois will lose a lot of money,” Barnes told the Metro East Sun. “Let me review the budget and make cuts on the useless spending; then we won’t need a tax increase.”
Barnes’s logic and vision run counter to that
of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel who, the Washington Free Beacon reports, has come out in support of up to a 30-cent-per-gallon tax increase as a way of funding critically needed state infrastructure projects.
Emanuel isn’t alone in arguing yet another tax increase is the way to go for the state to have any chance of getting its house in order. Several suburban mayors support such a plan, and Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker has expressed openness to the idea as part of a larger capital spending bill.
Barnes argues it’s all just another surefire way for the state to continue struggling with outmigration and a shrinking tax base.
“Taxpayers cannot afford any new taxes,” he said. “How many families and companies are leaving Illinois daily?”
Indeed, recently released U.S. Census Bureau figures show that Illinois lost a record-setting 45,616 people to outmigration in 2018, running the total of lost population since 2000 to around 1.5 million.
The decline marks the fifth straight year Illinois has faced such population loss, and in 2018 the state was the only one in the Midwest to experience such a decline.
With a population of just under 13 million, Illinois has slipped behind Pennsylvania in population and off the list of the country’s five largest states.