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Desperate Illinois Democrats are attempting to pull a fast one, passing legislation that would require businesses to display messages that are essentially “free election-year advertising” that is unconstitutional propaganda, according to Republicans.
The legislation was shoved through early on Saturday. It mandates that privately-owned gas stations display stickers on their gas pumps telling customers that the Illinois government has delayed a gas tax until after the upcoming election. The powers-that-be in the state including Governor JB Pritzker were going to slap residents with a 2.2-cent-per-gallon tax on July 1. They have now postponed it until January 2023 after the midterm elections, according to Fox News.
“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,” the stickers state.
Grocery stores are also required to post a note on receipts “to the extent feasible” that the state has suspended the 1 percent grocery tax for a year. The message on the receipts must state, “From July 1, 2022 through July 1, 2023, the State of Illinois sales tax on groceries is 0%.”
At around 3am Saturday morning, Illinois Democrats passed a budget that includes provisions that force private businesses, under penalty of large fines, to take part in free election-year advertising for the Governor and his party. pic.twitter.com/S6FPRZloLw
— Scot Bertram (@ScotBertram) April 10, 2022
The legislation advises that “if it is not feasible for the retailer to include the statement on any cash register tape, receipt, invoice, or sales ticket issued to customers, then the retailer shall post the statement on a sign that is clearly visible to customers. The sign shall be no smaller than 4 inches by 8 inches.”
The requirement has justifiably infuriated state Republicans and business leaders. They contend that the legislation is a slippery way to boost Democrats’ election-year advertising efforts, requiring that businesses post political propaganda.
It gets even worse. If a gas station refuses to comply with the sticker edict, it will be fined $500 a day. Totaling up potential fines for those who object to being forced to display the message could cost a business $65,500 in penalties that accrue between July 1 and November 8, Election Day.
Imagine thinking this is a proper use of government power: "if it is not feasible for retailer to include the statement on any … receipt … then retailer shall post the statement on a sign that is clearly visible to customers. The sign shall be no smaller than 4 by 8 inches."
— Scot Bertram (@ScotBertram) April 10, 2022
Josh Sharp, who is the CEO of the Illinois Fuel and Retail Association, asserted before the vote took place on Saturday that it is an unconstitutional infringement on the First Amendment rights of business owners.
“This industry won’t be forced into offering free election-year advertising for the governor,” Sharp declared, according to Illinois Policy. “Ordering businesses to take part in speech that is compelled by the government under the threat of fines and criminal penalties is unwise and unconstitutional.”
He vowed that retailers would sue over the requirement.
— John Heiderscheidt (@notguiltyCHI) April 11, 2022
I think that reminding voters that they have taxed everything imaginable, and can suspend the tax at their whim, will not have the pro-Democrat impact they desire.
— Andy Oliner (@Andy88488) April 10, 2022
The Illinois state legislature is controlled by Democrats. Pritzker and his political cohorts passed a gas tax increase in 2019 that doubled the existing tax from 19 to 38 cents. The real kicker in the legislation was that the gas tax would keep increasing to adjust for annual inflation, something that many contend should be the purview of the business owner, not the government. It’s that increase that has been delayed until January to allegedly sway political outcomes in the elections.
Illinois Policy also reported, “Illinoisans pay the second-highest gas taxes in the nation since the gas tax was doubled in 2019. Those taxes were intended to support $45 billion in infrastructure spending, but the projects were riddled with pork including dog parks, pickleball courts and money for political cronies who never sought the funds.”
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