State

Suburban mayors organization has not endorsed Emanuel's fuel tax increase

Not all local lawmakers support plan to raise the motor fuel tax.
Not all local lawmakers support plan to raise the motor fuel tax.

The executive director of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus said local lawmakers accidentally were listed on a letter supporting Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s effort to raise the state’s motor-fuel tax to fund highway improvements.

Emanuel’s office sent out a news release Tuesday stating that the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus recommended the 19-cents-per-gallon tax be increased by as much as 30 cents. Some members of the caucus that represents 275 municipal governments met Tuesday.

Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley, Algonquin Village President John Schmitt, Woodstock Mayor Brian Sager and Fox River Grove Village President Robert Nunamaker were listed as supporters.

However, Schmitt said Wednesday that he’s not committed to any specific proposal at this time, but believes a statewide capital bill is needed. He said he wasn’t at Tuesday’s meeting and didn’t know about Emanuel’s news release.

Sager declined to comment. Shepley didn’t respond to a request for comment.

“I didn’t know I was listed on it, but I do support a transportation bill. ... We’re in desperate need on many fronts for transportation funding,” Nunamaker said. “My suggestion is [gas taxes] are a thing we need to look at. ... I have different thoughts on the amounts.”

Metropolitan Mayors Caucus Executive Director Dave Bennett said he compiled a list of public officials who the organization believed could support a capital bill.

“I had no idea that it was going to be published,” Bennett said Wednesday. Bennett said his organization has not endorsed the proposal to raise the tax to 30 cents, and the list was released as an accident.

“We support the idea that there ought to be a transportation funding bill moving forward. ... But in terms of specifics we want to see the details of the final legislation. We did not commit to what the mayor sent out,” he said.

The tax has been the same since 1991. Consumers also pay sales tax on gasoline.

Emanuel’s press office wasn’t available for comment Wednesday.

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