(The Center Square) – There will be tax cuts for Illioisans in the coming budget, but plans from Democrats and Republicans differ on whether they’ll be temporary or permanent.

Record inflation and high gas prices are impacting consumers across the state. That’s compounded by Illinois’ taxes, which for gas and property taxes are among the highest in the country.

Supermajority Democrats at the statehouse propose one-time property and income tax rebates. They also propose temporarily freezing the one-cent grocery tax and looming gas tax increase of 2 to 3 cents per gallon.

Democrats’ tax cuts for consumers equate to about $1 billion in taxpayer savings. The House Democrats’ plan would freeze the grocery and gas tax increase for a year. The Senate Democrats’ plan would be for six months.

Republican senators proposed a package of tax cuts Thursday, including capping the sales tax on top of the gas tax for potential savings of 16 cents a gallon, well above the 2 to 3 cents proposed by Democrats. They estimate that would save taxpayers around $2.2 billion.

State Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, said that’s doable and will still maintain the governor’s proposed spending with a surplus.

“There is a way to leave this building with permanent tax relief for the families of Illinois and right now they’re not engaging in that conversation,” Rose said of Democrats.

Republicans say they’re not being included in negotiations.

Business tax incentives are also in the Democrats’ proposal.

State Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside, said the consumer tax cuts are temporary, but the business incentives are permanent.

“That’s a fair way to assess it, I would say,” Zalewski said during a committee hearing this week. “The business tax credits are already in statute and we’re extending them, I would say."

State Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, said Democrats are gearing up to drop the equipment sales tax credit for the coal industry.

“That’s going to impact my constituents who go down in the coal mine in Williamsville every day because they’re going to have more unsafe equipment, because it’s aging equipment, because the environmentalists said in committee said they’re not going to support this tax incentive unless you take coal out,” Butler said.

Zalewski said the industry wasn’t responsive when the issue was brought up in negotiations.

“If we’re giving this tax incentive to those who do not need it anymore, maybe we don’t need to do it anymore,” Zalewski said.

Session adjourns Friday evening. The next budget begins July 1.


Associate Editor

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.