Quinn "Skeptical" of Gas Tax Hike

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2009  |  Updated 2:26 PM CDT
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Quinn "Skeptical" of Gas Tax Hike

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Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn sounded a sour note Wednesday about raising gasoline taxes to help solve Illinois' budget crisis.

The Democrat told reporters after meeting with Senate Republicans that he is "skeptical" about regressive taxes that aren't based on a taxpayer's ability to pay. The income tax is an example of a progressive tax, although Quinn did not say he supports raising that levy.

Having been in office less than a month, Quinn must present a budget plan March 18 that tackles a deficit of at least $9 billion.

"When you have a terrible situation like this, the role of the governor is to level with the people, tell them where we are, and then come up with probably what's called the 'least bad' solution," Quinn said.

Legislative Democrats have suggested increasing the current 19-cents-per-gallon motor fuel tax to help fund construction of roads, bridges and other structures -- by 8 cents in a House bill and 16 cents or more under some proposals in the Senate.

"I've never been a big fan of taxes on gasoline," Quinn said. "All options are on the table but that's a particular levy that I think is difficult."

Quinn said he hopes the nation moves quickly toward vehicles fueled by power other than gasoline and that taxes to fund infrastructure should come from sources that "grow with the economy."

He also frowned on an increase in driver's license or vehicle-title fees.

Quinn said his budget will limit spending because of the looming deficit, which he said "could be higher" than $9 billion.

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