Illinoisans need to rise up against gas tax, House hopeful contends
Dan Caulkins hopes Illinois taxpayers will respond to the gas tax hidden in the new state budget in the same “mad as hell” way they did to Cook County's sweetened beverage tax.
“Getting that soda tax repealed is a great example of what happens when voters feel taken advantage of,” Caulkins, who recently launched his campaign to replace retiring Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) in the 101st District, told the Macon Reporter. “That tax was crammed down everyone’s throat, and once taxpayers got a taste of it they were moved to do something about it. I’m hoping they’ll have that same kind of fire when they get wind of what this gas tax really does.”
Gas prices in Chicago are already 44 cents higher than the national average, and prices across the state will climb to 5 cents more a gallon once the elimination of a 20-percent sales tax credit that was granted to wholesalers for unleaded gas mixed with ethanol takes place. Fox Illinois has reported the tax will cost Central Illinois residents about 3 to 5 cents more per gallon.
Overall, the new tax is expected to generate approximately $95 million for the state, though none of that money is earmarked for much-needed repairs to crumbling roads across the state. With the tax officially being considered a sales tax, the money will instead be deposited into the state's general fund.
“This whole budget bill kind of reminds me of the Affordable Care Act in that you have to pass it just to find out what’s in it,” Caulkins said. “Now that we’re starting to peel away the onions on this, we’re finding all the things Democrats tucked away as part of the bill. We’re seeing that even raising income taxes 32 percent wasn’t enough for them.”
A former Decatur councilman, the 70-year-old Caulkins said he decided to run for office after getting fed up with such seeming deceit.
“I found myself sitting at home yelling at the TV and getting mad as heck about all this,” Caulkins said. “Every time you turn around Springfield is raising taxes and pushing some unfunded mandate. We need to be sending more conservatives to Springfield -- people that are interested in standing up and fighting for the right things.”
Caulkins said the 101st District could become a model for every district in the state.
“We have a great opportunity to elect a real conservative that says what he means and means what he says,” he said. “That’s the whole life of my campaign. You have to understand we can’t continue to spend money we don’t have. We have to get ahold of the purse strings in Springfield.”
The 101st District spans parts of Decatur and Logan counties.