Fuel retailers sue over requirement to post about tax freeze

FILE -In this April 7, 2022, file photo. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker addresses reporters in Springfield, Ill., about a budget deal reached among Democrats. The Illinois Fuel & Retail Association on Thursday, May 19, 2022 filed a lawsuit against the Illinois Department of Revenue over signage required on gas pumps in July explaining that the state has not increased the motor fuel tax and the savings should be reflected on he pump. Fuel retailers say it violates their right to free speech and requires them to post political speech. (AP Photo/John O'Connor, File

Illinois fuel retailers argued in a lawsuit filed Thursday that a requirement to post signs alerting consumers about a six-month freeze in the state motor-fuel tax unconstitutionally compels them to promote Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s reelection campaign.

The Illinois Fuel & Retail Association and two large fuel distributors filed the lawsuit in Sangamon County Circuit Court against the Illinois Department of Revenue, its director, David Harris, and others.

At issue is a sign retailers must post on each fuel pump beginning July 1 as a result of the General Assembly and Pritzker freezing the motor fuel tax from its scheduled automatic inflation adjustment of about 2.2 cents per gallon. Originally proposed for a year, the law ends the freeze after six months.

A sign no smaller than 4 inches by 8 inches must report this and add, “The price on this pump should reflect the suspension of the tax increase.”

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