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Gas Station Owners Say Gas Tax Increase Would Have Negative Effects

Amanda Vinicky

Gas station owners are worried that lawmakers will pass an increase to the motor fuel tax to bring in more revenue.

David Smith owns gas stations along the Illinois border. He says Illinois' higher taxes cause most drivers to fill up outside of the state.

"At one of our Missouri stations near the border of Missouri and Illinois, we sell for example 170,000 gallons of gas per month," Smith said. "However at our Illinois-based border station just a few miles away on the Illinois side, we only sell about 70,000 gallons per month."

That adds up to a 1.2 million gallon difference between the two stores each year.

The price of gasoline is affected by many taxes. Some of that revenue goes toward infrastructure, but not all.

Bill Fleischli, the executive vice president of the Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association and the Illinois Association of Convenience Stores, says the current tax should create enough money for infrastructure repairs, even though not all the tax revenue is used for the roads.

"As in the case in Illinois, the sales tax goes to general revenue fund and some of the motor fuel taxes are diverted to agencies, operations and programs, not for road construction," he said.

Fleischli also says a higher gas tax would hurt Illinois families, especially when the price of gas goes up.

Governor Bruce Rauner has not outlined specifics, but his agenda calls for restructuring the gas tax to pay for infrastructure repairs.

Lisa Ryan is a graduate student in the public affairs reporting program at the University of Illinois at Springfield. She previously worked at Indiana Public Radio and the college radio station founded by David Letterman. She is a 2014 broadcast journalism and political science graduate of Ball State University.
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