Grocery/Gas Taxes rising July 1
The temporary pause in state taxes on groceries put in place last year will be over at the end of this month, so, unfortunately, families will see a 1% increase in their grocery bills starting July 1st. FYI, 37 states don’t tax groceries at all.
In addition, next month Illinois drivers will be paying 6.2 cents per gallon more in state gas taxes, the second increase this year. On July 1st the state motor tuel tax will be 45.4 cents per gallon.
In 2019 the state motor fuel tax was 19 cents per gallon. Governor Pritzker signed legislation that doubled the tax and tied automatic annual increases to the rate of inflation. We’re seeing two increases this year because the July, 2022 hike was paused for 6 months.
We need to be permanently reducing taxes in Illinois, not “pausing” them for a few months right before an election.
Attorneys have presented oral arguments in the Sangamon County court battle over the constitutionality of FOID cards in Illinois.
Dry weather begins to affect Illinois crop conditions
The recent USDA report summarizing the production picture showed less than half of Illinois’ fields have “adequate” moisture to grow the corn and soybean harvest for which seed was planted this year. The topsoil, which drains first, is dry and dusty in Illinois, with 27% of the fields reporting “adequate” topsoil moisture. In 42% of the fields, moisture is short, and in 31% it is very short.
This means that for at least half of Illinois’ corn and bean fields, growing conditions are fair to poor. Rainfall is usually adequate in June, and the dry weather conditions are being called “the worst drought in a decade.”. Heavy rainfall, if it comes, could improve these conditions.
Friends of educational opportunity mobilize to save scholarship program
The Invest in Kids scholarship programs is a State-backed scholarship program for children, including at-risk children and children from disadvantaged households, to gain the opportunity to participate in private-sector schooling. Large tuition bills make it impossible for many families to send their children to private schools, even when they excel. With scholarship assistance, many of these grade-school and high-school-aged students can continue their educational pathway. The program is backed by a State income tax credit.
I wholeheartedly support this program. Sadly, it was not included in the Democrats’ FY 2024 state budget package, and so is scheduled for phase-out starting December 31, 2023. The good news is that the educators and families that are part of Invest in Kids are taking action to engage with the General Assembly. Lawmakers will need to act during the fall 2023 veto session to enable the program to continue to help Illinois students. I am hopeful that will happen.
Many comparable and neighboring states, including Indiana and Iowa, have enacted permanent scholarship tax credit laws.
Remembering a champion for Illinois businesses
Thoughts and prayers go out this month to family and friends of Todd Maisch, former member of House Republican staff and President and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. Todd was a true champion for Illinois businesses, but more importantly, he was a good man. He will be missed.
It’s County Fair season!
County Fairs are in full swing across the state. Get out there and celebrate summer!