June 17, 2021
By: Katie Clancy
State Rep. Katie Stuart (D-Edwardsville) and Senator Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) are disingenuously celebrating reducing the trailer fee from $118 to $36.
I say disingenuously because $36 is still double what the fee was before Governor Pritzker and the Democrats in the General Assembly pushed through 20 tax and fee increases, including the $100 increase in the trailer fee, in 2019.
Only a Springfield politician could spin a 100% fee increase into something to celebrate.
Now, $86 is nothing to sneer at, but reducing this fee hike likely won’t make a dent in the exodus of families to lower-cost states. For all the focus on the trailer fee, the state government is taking that and more back through property, gas, sales, and other taxes.
Homebuyers are flowing into Missouri, where the Tax Foundation found that they pay $1,073 in property taxes on a per capita basis compared to $2,277 in Illinois. In addition, shoppers pay a state sales tax rate of 4.225% in Missouri compared to Illinois’ 6.25%. And every day, we see cars cross the river to pay 17 cents per gallon in gas taxes, less than half of Illinois’ 38 cents.
To add insult to injury, the yearly fee to register a trailer in Missouri is $18.50.
Add it all up, and is it any wonder Illinois families continue to flee to Missouri?
Rep. Stuart, Sen. Crowe, and Gov. Pritzker hope they can entice you to stay another year by providing $86 in “savings,” all the while doubling down on the policies that have caused families to flee. Of course, they would rather talk about the trailer fee than the budget they just passed that raises lawmakers’ pay by $1,200, increases taxes on businesses by $665 million, cuts programs for adults with disabilities, and provides no property tax relief for working-class families.
Set aside the self-congratulatory press releases, the tone-deaf celebrations, and the political spin. We still pay more at the end of the day; the fee on small trailers doubled, and Stuart, Crowe, and Pritzker continue to drive families out of Illinois.