Tax and Fee Hikes Totaling 4.7 Billion Coming Soon for Illinoisans

by Adam Schuster, Illinois Policy

Illinois residents will soon be facing new or higher taxes and fees on gas, vehicle registrations, parking, marijuana, gambling, online shopping and more following actions at the Statehouse. In total, 21 new ways to extract money are estimated to raise $4.7 billion to pay for infrastructure and the state’s fiscal year 2020 operating budget – which despite the new money may still be as much as $1.3 billion in the red.

The changes span three different bills – SB 690, SB 689, and SB 1939 – and total 2,029 pages. All three bills were passed in a single weekend, meaning neither taxpayers nor lawmakers had time to fully read them.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed SB 689 on June 5 and is expected to sign the remaining two bills. The biggest tax hike proposed by Pritzker – scrapping Illinois’ constitutionally guaranteed flat tax and replacing it with a progressive income tax – would require voter approval on the November 2020 ballot to be enacted. Senate Democrats have estimated the rates signed by the governor would raise just over $3 billion.

While Pritzker has claimed his progressive tax plan would lower or at least not raise taxes on 97% of Illinoisans, just two of the revenue changes enacted this spring – doubling the motor fuel tax and increasing vehicle registration fees – more than wipe out any tax relief the governor promised. In fact, a typical Illinois family with two vehicles will end up $105 in the hole. And that’s assuming lawmakers don’t target the middle class for more revenue by changing the progressive income tax rates they passed.

Notably, the General Assembly passed and Pritzker signed a state budget that members of both parties claimed was balanced. The truth is it is out of balance by as much as $1.3 billion, despite significant new revenue.

Although Pritzker originally proposed 19 new or higher taxes and fees worth $6.9 billion, not all of his proposals were enacted and some new measures were passed that had not been previously discussed in public. Taxes Pritzker proposed but the General Assembly did not pass include the following:

Reducing the tax credit available to retailers for collecting sales taxes on behalf of the state ($75 million)

A new 5-cent statewide tax on plastic bags ($19 million to $23 million)

A statewide $1-per-ride fee on ridesharing ($214 million)

A 7% tax on streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify ($150 million)

Increased taxes on beer, wine and liquor ($120 million)

New tax and fee hikes not previously proposed include:

A $100 increase in vehicle registration fees for large trucks

Increased sales taxes on remote online retailers

New sales tax for online marketplaces

New progressive tax schedule for gambling proceeds that imposes lower taxes on table games than slot machines

Prior to the changes enacted this spring, Illinois residents already faced one of the highest total state and local tax burdens in the nation.

New revenue to balance general revenue budget ($1.7 billion)