PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – A new amendment made to an Illinois bill is drawing criticism from gas industry leaders.
To help address rising inflation, Governor J.B. Pritzker has pushed for a 6-month pause on the state’s annual gas tax increase, which currently sits at 39 cents per gallon.
According to state leaders, it would provide around $70 million dollars in relief at the pump.
“We’re doing nothing to lower them, all this legislation does is stop a tax increase from going into effect,” said Josh Sharp, CEO of Illinois fuel and retail association.
A change made to the inflation relief legislation, Illinois House Bill 1497 is becoming a further point of contention.
An amendment filed this week would require gas retailers to post a 4×8 inch sign on pumps, sharing that the tax increase is suspended. Non-compliance would be a petty offense and result in a $500 dollar fine each day.
“You can’t force businesses or any person to utter speech that they disagree with, or they don’t want to say,” Sharp said.
Sharp called the measure political.
“I think the reasoning behind it is so that the General Assembly can attempt to leave Springfield and say that they did something about high gas prices, when in fact they really didn’t,” Sharp said.
Peoria gas station owner Terry Beachler questioned the effectiveness of requiring signs on pumps.
“People probably won’t read it and the price change won’t be that much where it would be noticeable,” Beachler said.
If the legislation does indeed pass, Beachler said that the costs of making signs should not be on gas station owners.
“The state should supply them. No other state does that or ever has done that. It’s ridiculous,” Beachler said.
Sharp said if the amendment is passed, his association will consider filing a lawsuit.