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Cut state gas tax, borrow for road repairs: GOP gov candidate Kirk Dillard

Republican State Sen. Kirk Dillard announces he's running for Illinois governor his childhood home Chicago July 15 2013.  |

Republican State Sen. Kirk Dillard announces he's running for Illinois governor at his childhood home in Chicago on July 15, 2013. | Scott Eisen/AP

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Updated: February 22, 2014 6:21AM

Republican gubernatorial candidate Kirk Dillard on Monday called for reducing the state’s sales tax on gasoline, saying it would save taxpayers $450 million a year, or an average of $170 for every family in Illinois.

“We are overtaxed and overregulated,” Dillard, a state senator from Hinsdale, said during a news conference in front of a gas station in Lincoln Park. The state’s gas sales tax currently is 5 percent.

But asked how the state would make up for the lost revenues, all Dillard could say was that Illinois has to “grow the economy,” and that cutting the gas tax would stem the flow of motorists who cross over to neighboring states to fill their tanks.

Dillard also said Monday that he favors borrowing against what revenues a slashed gas tax would continue to generate to create a $1 billion fund for road improvements.

Another GOP hopeful, state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington, said he had called for lowering the gas tax for years, noting that many other states have lower taxes on fuel. Regarding Dillard’s proposal to borrow for road repairs, Brady said, “The numbers just didn’t make sense to me.”

The campaign of Bruce Rauner, the best-funded candidate in the March GOP primary, noted that a few months ago Dillard reportedly said he supported keeping the gas tax intact rather than expanding gambling to pay for road repairs.

And the other Republican candidate, state Treasurer Dan Rutherford, said he had voted as a state lawmaker for temporarily suspending the gas sales tax. Doing so, he said, did little to suppress spikes in fuel prices.

Aides to Gov. Patrick Quinn, who is seeking re-election, did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment on the gas sales tax issue.


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