(The Center Square) – Illinois taxpayers with sticker shock from the $100 tax increase on the annual trailer tag implemented two years ago may soon get some relief.

A measure that drops the tax on utility trailers from $118 to $36 in exchange for a $5 increase in the fee for a vehicle title transfer to $155 is advancing at the statehouse with just one day left.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said Sunday the trailer fee increasing from $18 to $118 as part of the capital construction bill Gov. J.B. Pritzker enacted in 2019 was a major concern for constituents. That bill also doubled the state’s gas tax and increased other taxes and fees.

Several lawmakers said the $100 increase in the trailer tax was a “drafting error,” but it was unclear if or when it would be fixed.

After a slew of proposed measures to drop the tax from $118 to $18, a compromise was made to make the bill revenue neutral.

State Rep. Marty Moylan, D-Des Plaines, praised the House amendments to Senate Bill 58.

“The citizens of the great state of Illinois won,” Moylan said. “Thank you again for the great job. And now I can take my little snowmobile, and my little trailer and troll down the highway for a reasonable price.”

State Rep. Avery Bourne, R-Morrisonville, said she wanted to drop the fee back to $18, but they’ll take what they can get.

“Hopefully this helps everyone who has gotten calls about the trailer fee,” Bourne said. “It’s become the third most important issue to my constituents behind the [Illinois Department of Employment Security] and [Firearm Owner Identification cards]. Maybe we can fix those as well this week.”

There’s a persistent backlog of FOID cards since before the pandemic, and the IDES offices closed more than a year ago because of the COVID-19 pandemic are still not opened for public in-person visits.

State Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, said the trailer fee increase was a major concern for her constituents.

“I know people who quit using their trailers, I know people who would just take a risk and drive it without a plate, I know people who would switch it from one to another,” Scherer said.

The measure also restores the vehicle trade in tax credit that was capped several years ago critics said drove people out of state to trade their cars for another.

State Rep. Deanne Mazzochi, R-Elmhurst, said the amendment to HB58 is good policy.

“I’m very grateful and the residents of my district are going to be grateful that we are actually lowering taxes on the trailer fees, we’re reducing an opportunity for double taxation,” Mazzochi said.

The measure passed unanimously and now heads back to the Senate for concurrence.

Monday is the final day of session.


Staff Reporter

Greg Bishop reports on Illinois government and other issues for The Center Square. Bishop has years of award-winning broadcast experience and hosts the WMAY Morning Newsfeed out of Springfield.