* GateHouse Media…
Illinois legislators in June voted to double a state tax on gasoline to 38 cents from 19 cents per gallon. The increase took effect July 1, and gas station owner Pravin Patel immediately noticed a dip in sales.
Patel operates a Mobil gas station in South Beloit, located about the length of football field away from the Illinois-Wisconsin border. He said he’s making about $2,000 less per day on gas sales than in previous months, based on credit card transactions alone. He’s heard similar stories from other gas station owners near the border, he added.
“I’ve lost a lot of business and I’ve lost two employees because I can’t afford them anymore” Patel said. “Because the tax went up, business went down.”
Patel suggested that legislators should consider a buffer zone of sorts to protect gas station owners on the border. If the additional tax was waived within a mile or two of the border, customers might return to Illinois, he said.
A buffer zone sounds interesting, but what do you do about the gas stations just outside the buffer zone? Create another buffer zone? And then what do you do about those gas stations outside the second buffer zone?
* Look, there will be some pain with this gas tax increase. No doubt. But we can’t create a time machine to go back and fix this state’s infrastructure problems. The fixes can only be done in the here and now and in the future. And the problems were ignored and/or neglected for so long that a bigtime solution was necessary.
The problems some gas stations, corporate or otherwise, are having shouldn’t take precedence over fixing what we’ve collectively broken. The best thing to do is to try not to get so far behind ever again.
…Adding… From comments…
The location of a business is a well known valuation factor. The potential for tax hikes or tax cuts impacting a business will be taken into account for evaluating the value of an “on the border” business and, in theory, also for the business’ property tax assessments. Unfortunately, “risk” is also a well known business factor.