It has been said that those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it. It has also been said that history repeats itself but not exactly.
Today, we are witnessing the beginnings of an exodus from our state. It could become a flood of citizens wishing to relocate if our legislature proceeds with plans to increase the current gasoline tax. It was recently suggested by the mayor of Chicago that gasoline taxes in Illinois be increased by an additional 30 cents per gallon. His reasoning is that Chicago requires a greater influx of dollars for improving its roadways.
I seriously doubt the timing of his announcement was accidental. It was no doubt planned to coincide with the current low price of gasoline caused by a short-term surplus on the world market. This short-term surplus will not last much longer. Already Saudi Arabia and the Russia are negotiating to withhold large portions of their output in order to drive prices higher. The Wall Street Journal already is suggesting that prices could once again be above $3 a gallon before the end of 2019.
I doubt that our legislature will be able to resist the idea of having more money coming into the state’s coffers. With our legislature, and now the governorship, in the hands of Chicago politicians, the wish of the Chicago mayor is practically guaranteed. It is my sincere wish that our downstate legislators have been watching recent events unfolding in France. If they have been, they would have seen that people there have reached their limit over endless taxes. Americans watched the riots that took place in Paris, but those stories did no expose the true facts. France experienced over $8 billion in losses caused by that small uprising.
In the past, travelers were constantly at risk of robbery from highway men. It seems as though the highway men of our ancestors have returned. Today, they wear suits instead of masks, and they use the law to cover their misdeeds.
The current low price of gasoline may allow the legislators to get away with a new tax increase, but when the cost of driving once again becomes an expensive burden, I strongly believe that the voice of the rural public will make itself heard.