Apr 11, 2022 - Politics

Gas legislation may see trouble ahead

Photo illustration: Allie Carl/Axios. Photo: Joshua Lott /Getty Images

The Illinois General Assembly wrapped up the spring session early Saturday morning, feverishly passing new bills to send to the governor's desk.

  • But they didn't finish until 6:10am, after blowing past their self-imposed midnight deadline.

Why it matters: The spring session was truncated this year to let lawmakers hit the campaign trail before the June 28 primary.

  • Even though the budget was agreed to by top Democrats Thursday evening, it didn't get introduced by the House until just after 5am Saturday.
  • "This budget and its $1.8 billion in tax relief is for you, the people of Illinois," Gov. JB Pritzker said at a Saturday morning press conference.

Driving the news: One controversial piece of legislation is about signage. The budget calls for a six-month freeze on the gas tax increase and stipulates that gas stations put up signage communicating that to drivers. If they don't, owners could face fines.

  • "The idea that fuel retailers would have to reach into their own pockets to tell their customers about legislation approved in Springfield and then face heavy fines if they don’t is completely absurd," IL Fuel and Retail Association CEO Josh Sharp said in a press release.
  • If Pritzker signs the signage requirements into law, Sharp is considering filing a lawsuit against the state.

Of note: Illinois drivers won't see any change at the pump come July, the start of the fiscal year. They just won't see a tax increase.

  • Republicans argue that the six-month freeze will just force two increases on drivers next year.

What's next: Democrats will now get out on the campaign trail, hoping that the balanced budget, stimulus checks, and pro-police bills will not only give them talking points but will take the air out of GOP arguments that they are fiscally irresponsible and soft on crime.


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