CAPITAL BILL A WIN FOR TRUCKERS
A whirlwind end to a historic legislative session has resulted in two important pieces of good news for Illinois trucking companies: a new capital bill to fix our infrastructure and the end of a misguided truck fee that only added to the work we have to do to address our roads and bridges.
We give tremendous credit and a hearty thank you to a bipartisan group of legislators and Gov. J.B. Pritzker for their leadership in approving a new capital bill that will make the first major investment in fixing our transportation system in 10 years.
Our trucks drive every day over broken and crumbling concrete and asphalt and are stuck in congested traffic. With Illinois a national leader in transporting goods and services around the country and the world, often by truck, the billions of dollars we will spend over the next six years under this plan will save us tremendous costs.
Included in the capital bill is a repeal of the c ommercial distribution fee, created in 2004 as a hidden sales tax on truck license plates. This adds as much as $400 to the cost of a semi-truck license plate and has cost the industry nearly $1 billion since it was implemented. Worse, the money is swept into the General Revenue Fund, not used for infrastructure.
No one likes higher fuel prices, but we strongly support this plan that ensures we are investing in our infrastructure through protected funds and repealing the CDF. Illinois’ economy moves ahead with trucks, and we can roll on with this help from Springfield.
Matt Hart, executive director
Illinois Trucking Association
COLLATERAL DAMAGE FROM NEW BILLS
Both the gambling and marijuana bills were steamrolled through in the final days of the session.
Legislators were so eager to get construction projects in their district that they voted on the 816-page gambling bill and the 610-page marijuana bill without reading them or knowing all that was included. Legislative leaders did not even know everything that was in the bills and say they will need to make changes in the fall veto session.
Young people do not go to casinos or gamble on slot and video gaming machines. However, they do like sports, cell phone apps and mobile devices. Gambling changes the brain. Enticing teens and young adults to gamble on sports will cause harm and impact their futures. This is a terrible way to raise revenue.
More people will use and abuse marijuana once it is legal in Illinois. In other states where marijuana is legalized, traffic crashes, homelessness, hospitalizations and black market sales have increased.
In an interview with Bloomberg News, the governor said the massive expansion of gambling and legalization of marijuana will help repair broken Illinois. “I really believe that we have turned this ship in the right direction. Illinois is back,” Governor
J. B. Pritzker said.
I believe Illinois is going in the wrong direction with the passage of these bills. Increases in crime, substance abuse, child neglect, traffic fatalities and suicide are some of the resulting social costs that will impact families and communities statewide. Construction projects will come at a high cost.
Anita Bedell, executive director
Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems
COAL IS THE BEST BET
In response to Bruce Rushton’s story about coal (“Letting Go,” June 13), I remind everyone that solar and wind are nothing more than supplemental power sources. They are unreliable and seriously harmful to birds and bees. Coal, on the other hand, is a reliable source of power. The harmful emissions can be scrubbed clean. God gave us an endless supply of coal, not so with sun and wind.