ILLINOIS (KMOV.COM) - In an interview, Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker alluded to his support of a per-mile driving tax.
In an interview with the Daily Herald, Pritzker seemed to have called for a vehicle miles traveled tax or VMT. He said it was an idea worth exploring.
"...It's only fair if you're on a road and traveling on that road that you should pay your fair share."
That statement has set off a flurry of attack ads and articles from the current Governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, who is facing a tough re-election.
But the statement from Pritzker, technically speaking, wasn't a proposal. It was part of a deeper discussion about increasing revenue for the state of Illinois.
Pritzker says with more fuel-efficient vehicles on the roads, the traditional gas tax income is shrinking.
"In some states (such as Oregon) they have done tests recently for a VMT tax because we have more and more electric cars on the road, more and more hybrids, and because gas mileage is rising..."
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Illinois has 3-4 registered electric vehicles per 10,000 residents. This puts Illinois on pace with states like Maryland, Tennessee and Texas and among the top 50% of states with the highest number of electric vehicles.
Jordan Abudayyeh, a spokeswoman for Pritzker's campaign, told KMOV that Pritzker has not proposed a vehicle mileage tax but does believe Illinois needs more revenue.
Pritzker denying he has proposed a VMT has not stopped Rauner from continuing the attacks, tweeting out the Daily Herald article that quotes Pritzker discussing a VMT.
This is not the first time a per-mile driving tax has been proposed in Illinois. In 2016, Senate President John Cullerton introduced legislation that would have required Illinois drivers to pay the current 34 cents per gallon tax and a new per-mile tax.
That proposal would have required Illinois drivers to install devices on their vehicles to monitor their mileage. Alternatively, they could pay a flat annual rate of $450.
Cullerton was eventually forced to kill his own bill after major opposition.