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posted: 7/29/2013 5:00 AM

Fix system before changing gas tax

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First, we're guaranteed that the 66 percent state income tax increase would be temporary, helping the state pay past due bills to vendors who have completed business with the state and have waited, in some instances for over a year to be reimbursed.

Those past due bills have yet to be paid, with the increase going to pension obligations and the temporary increase is now morphing into a progressive income tax as opposed to being scaled back as originally "guaranteed," to assure passage, of the increase in the first place. Any pension reform passed? Any spending cuts to the overall state budget implemented?

Now we have a coalition of businesses (road builders?) and labor groups (operating engineers of heavy equipment?) calling for an increase in the state's gasoline tax and vehicle fees to generate money for badly needed bridge and road repairs.

The gasoline tax is not solely collected to fund road and bridge repairs but goes to funding transportation needs in Illinois. Those needs consist of bloated, overlapping governmental agencies that include the Regional Transportation Authority, Metra, Pace and the CTA. How about true governmental reform by eliminating all these patronage havens?

The coalition argues that a 9.5 percent tax on what gas stations pay for a gallon of gasoline, eliminating the current $0.19 per gallon would better, " ... reflect changing economic conditions than the current flat fee." It would also raise $800 million per year. Does anyone doubt that without a total revamp of how transportation, beyond roads and bridges, is funded and managed that this money would only further corrupt a system that is corrupt throughout its crumbling foundation?

Structural reform first. Repair the crumbling, dilapidated, corrupt oversight of all transportation "governance," then have an open discussion of the true needs of updating all aspects of the state's transportation infrastructure.

Steve Sarich


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