PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit over an Illinois gas pump sticker mandate.
Beginning July 1, all Illinois gas stations will be required to place a 4×8 inch sign on pumps that reads: “Illinois has suspended the inflation adjustment to the motor fuel tax through December 31, 2022. The price on this pump should reflect the suspension of the tax increase.”
If gas stations don’t comply, they could face a $500-a-day fine
In May, the Illinois Fuel and Retail Association filed a lawsuit against the state due to the mandate.
During an interview in April, Illinois Fuel and Retail Association CEO Josh Sharp said he felt the requirement was political and unconstitutional.
“You can’t force businesses or any person to utter speech that they disagree with, or they don’t want to say,” Sharp said.
Before a hearing in federal court last Friday, the lawsuit was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Sue Myerscough who said: “That is a purely factual statement about what the Illinois General Assembly did, and the signage does not contain controversial statements”.
As the requirement is set to take effect, Peoria gas station owner Terry Beachler said there hasn’t been much guidance from the state.
“We’ll probably print out some signs on just plain paper, and then we’ll stick them on the pump with scotch tape and we’re all set, I guess we’ll be legal then,” Beachler said.
He also said that drivers are unlikely to notice the signage or experience any real savings at the pump.
“I think it’s just a stunt. Don’t forget that Pritzker raised the gasoline tax, doubled it from 19 to 38 cents, so 2 cents won’t make much difference,” Beachler said.
In response to criticism, Governor Pritzker’s deputy press secretary Olivia Kuncio said:
“The law requiring stickers in situations like these has been on the books for years and was put in place by a Republican governor. The language is not partisan– the goal is to protect consumers and they know that they should not be paying more thanks to the gas tax freeze. Suspending the gas tax increase is one of many relief measures put in place by Governor Pritzker, including relief on groceries and property taxes as well as direct payments to Illinoisans.”