Bill Ward, Executive Vice president
Home Builders Association of Illinois
How many of you out there have one or more of these trailers for your business or home? Or maybe you have a small trailer to haul a boat or kayak? If you buy one new these trailers, it will cost you $750 to $1000; a used one will run you $250 to $500.
In haste to tax Illinoisans the equivalent of our state’s GDP, the Illinois General Assembly and Governor Pritzker raised the annual sticker fee on these lightweight vehicles in 2019 from $18 per year to $118 per year. Wow, that’s a 655% tax hike for sticker renewals in 2020, that’s a lot!
Moreover, many of these trailers are seasonal at best. My wife and I own a small boat trailer that is on the road twice per year; once in the spring to take our kayak to the lake; and, once in the fall to bring it back from the lake.
Of course, this has me thinking what you might be thinking; how much is the fine for not having the sticker vs. the fee for the sticker? I mean, if I’m running a total of 30 miles per year on my trailer why not just roll the dice and see if I can make the gauntlet between my storage shed and Lake Springfield. As it turns out, the fine is $120, just two bucks over the price of the sticker.
But if you’re in a business where you own one or more of these and they are on the road every day, then my advice for breaking the law should not be well taken.
Instead, you should call your Illinois State Representative today and ask them to co-sponsor HB4096, a bill to roll back the 2020 fee from $118 to last year’s $18 fee. The bill is being sponsored by Rep. Katie Stuart, a Democrat from Edwardsville.
I’ve already reached out to the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association and I must believe they will support the bill. I also think many other groups, be they business or recreational, will jump on board to pass HB4096, as well.
But this issue will be no pushover. The revenue from the fee increase goes to the Illinois Road Fund, and we all can agree that Illinois roads and bridges need some major updating.
In all seriousness, I believe what happened here was a rush to raise all fees on all renewals without examining the proportion of some of the rate increases. The reason the fee was low to begin with is because many of these vehicles are seasonal and do very little harm to our state and local roads and highways.
I think it would be wise for the Governor, the General Assembly, and the Secretary of State’s office to admit this one rate increase (655%) is not in proportion with other fee increases and should roll back the fee to somewhere closer to $18, than to leave it at $118.
Call your State Representative today and ask them to co-sponsor HB4096 (Stuart D-Edwardsville), a bill to lower the tax on trailers in Illinois that haul 3000 lbs. or less, from $118 to $18.