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updated: 5/6/2011 4:54 PM

Dillard: Cut the sales tax on gas

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  • Should the state reduce the sales tax on gas?

      Should the state reduce the sales tax on gas?
    AP file photo

  • Kirk Dillard

      Kirk Dillard

 
 

Sen. Kirk Dillard Friday said cutting the state's share of the sales tax on gasoline could save people more than 20 cents at the pump at a time when prices continue to rise.

"I think that suburbanites get hit hardest by high gas prices," Dillard said on a weekly conference call.

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Dillard noted, though, that he's pushed the plan for years without much success. The state made the move temporarily under former Gov. George Ryan, but recent attempts spurred by the GOP have been mostly fruitless.

And the Illinois Department of Revenue quickly criticized Dillard's plan, saying it wasn't clear if the previous attempt actually lowered prices.

"By the time people got around to doing it, the prices came down," said department spokeswoman Sue Hofer.

"The price of gas certainly increased, but not because of the taxes," Hofer said.

Lawmakers are in the process of crafting their budget plans for the next year. While many might want to ease the pain their constituents feel when filling up their tanks, lawmakers facing deep budget cuts and a big deficit might not be willing to lose the revenue brought in by the tax.

Dillard's plan wouldn't affect the local share of the sales tax on gasoline. He's filed legislation on the matter, but it hasn't received a vote.

He argues that the state already taxes gasoline to pay for roads and bridges, so they shouldn't tax it twice via the sales tax.

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