Transportation “Lockbox” Amendment Approved by General Assembly............Will Appear on Ballot!

House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment (HJRCA) 36 is a response to the lack of an overall State balanced budget and the movement of money from specifically transportation-related taxes and fees to other spending programs. If approved by the voters in November, this amendment will put all revenues from transportation taxes and fees into a “lockbox” that can only be used for transportation purposes.

Under HJRCA 36, the money generated by these taxes and fees could only be spent for road construction and repair, enforcing traffic laws, and paying off transit-related debt. Cash flows that would be affected by this amendment include the state tax imposed on motor fuel of 19 cents per gallon of gasohol and 21.5 cents per gallon of diesel fuel. Sales taxes also imposed on motor fuel are not defined as specifically transportation-related taxes and fees, and would not be affected by this amendment.

The transportation “lockbox” amendment was the only constitutional amendment approved by both houses of the General Assembly in time to be submitted for final action to the voters in November 2016. Other proposed amendments, such as measures to abolish the office of Lieutenant Governor, to legalize a graduated individual income tax rate, or to change the way districts for members of the Illinois General Assembly are drawn on maps, failed to get the required three-fifths approval of both legislative houses by the constitutional deadline, and will not appear on the ballot.

The House vote to approve HJRCA 36 for submission to the voters was 98-4-2. Approval of the amendment by the state Senate on Thursday, May 5, completed the task of clearing this measure for submission to the voters in November 2016.

(Read more on this issue by Todd Maisch, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. and Michael Kleinik, executive director of the Chicago Laborers District Council-LMCC. They are the Transportation for Illinois Coalition.)