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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Two Illinois politicians hope to make it unnecessary for the state's motorists to travel to Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri in search of cheaper gas.
State Rep. Jerry Smithson (D-Smithtown) and State Rep. Richard Morthland (R-Cordova) are formulating legislation that would allow the state's Department of Revenue to monitor fuel and gas taxes in bordering states and adjust Illinois' gas tax accordingly, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Illinois' current gas tax is 19 cents per gallon, in addition to the state's 6.25 percent sales tax. Per the lawmakers' proposed legislation, if Iowa, Kentucky or Missouri have a sales tax on fuel that is less than 6.25 percent, Illinois' sales tax would be reduced to compete with those states at gas stations located within 30 miles of the bordering state.
Conversely, if at any time in the future a bordering state has a sales tax of 6.25 percent or greater, Illinois would increase its sales tax to 6.25 percent, according to the newspaper. That aspect of the legislation is factoring in if Illinois were to reduce its gas sales tax in the future.
"It is well-known that oftentimes, gas is cheaper on the other side of the river in Missouri and many Illinoisans travel there to fill up their tanks and buy other goods," Costello said. However, he admitted the legislation, called HB3836, is not perfect because Missouri currently has no sales tax on fuel.
"Missouri's taxation policy regarding gasoline results in lower prices, and we should do everything in our power to keep tax dollars in Illinois and deliver cheaper gas for local residents," Costello told the Post-Dispatch.
Morthland said he's also concerned about what the legislation would do to gas stations located 31 miles from the state border. "Are we going to hurt gas stations that are right near the 30-mile boundary? I don't know," he said. "At least we'll be recouping those losses in Illinois, in consequence to a handful of gas stations near the boundary."