This was briefly an issue in the fall elections as Republicans claimed that the Dems should give motorists the same break as United. That talk has died way down, however.
Seeking to make good on political promises that kept United Airlines headquartered in Illinois, state lawmakers on Monday began debating giving millions of dollars worth of gas tax breaks to the airline giant.
On the table is a plan to cap how much United pays in sales tax on jet fuel, the price of which has skyrocketed alongside gasoline. The savings for United over the life of the five-year deal are pegged at $20 million.
Illinois has the countryâ€™s highest jet fuel taxes, and United executive Jake Brace said the airline ferries in cheaper fuel from other states to use at Oâ€™Hare International Airport because even thatâ€™s cheaper than paying Illinoisâ€™ taxes. […]
Not everyoneâ€™s on board. Competing airlines complain about being cut out of the deal, which provides tax breaks only after an airline buys 260 million gallons in Illinois. The only airline doing that is United.
The logic is United buys the most fuel, pays the most taxes, it’s a local company, so they should get the tax break. But whenever you give one company a break, the others ain’t happy.
Top executives at Southwest Airlines and American Airlines argued the threshold is too high for any airlines besides United to qualify for the break.
The incentive is being offered at a time when Democrats â€“ including Gov. Rod Blagojevich â€“ have rejected repeated calls by Republicans to cut the sales tax on gasoline used by motorists to fill up their cars, truck and SUVs.