SPRINGFIELD, Ill.—Illinois gas stations will have to display a sign with specific language about a six-month gas tax suspension in the state, reports NewsChannel 20.
From July 1 until December 31, 2022, gas station owners will have to post a sign by the gas pump that reads “As of July 1, 2022, the State of Illinois has suspended the inflation adjustment to the motor fuel tax through December 31, 2022. The price on this pump should reflect the suspension of the tax increase.”
If gas station owners do not post the message, they could face fines of $500 per day. There are 3,708 convenience stores that sell gas in the state of Illinois.
The Illinois Fuel and Retail Association told NewsChannel 20 that its board of directors voted to sue the state. The trade group represents 500 small businesses in the petroleum distribution business in Illinois.
University of Illinois Springfield professor Kent Redfield told the news station that there is a good chance requiring the posted statement is “invalid” because the state would have to prove there's a public interest for this type of speech, such as how there are for health concerns or product disclaimers.
"It's much easier to make the claim on a health kind of warning or some sort of consumer protection warning that the public is benefiting from this in a general sense," Redfield told NewsChannel 20. "Whereas if it's about political advantage or about making your case for how you're dealing with the citizen's tax dollars ... It certainly is beyond the kind of scope where these things have been upheld."
“As gas prices remain high, providing meaningful relief to working families is the governor’s top priority. Suspending the gas tax increase accomplishes this,” the Illinois governor’s office told NewsChannel 20 in a statement. “Informing consumers of the gas tax relief they are entitled to is a practice that dates back to 2000 under a Republican administration and does not promote the governor or the lawmakers, including nearly every Republican, who voted for the measure. However, it ensures consumers see the benefit of bipartisan action.”
Illinois’ fuel tax was set to increase in July but will remain at $.39 a gallon instead through January 1, 2023.