IFB President: Busy days ahead lobbying for state, national priority issues

Organization keeping a close eye on proposed graduated income and motor fuel taxes, as well as trade deals.

IFB President Richard Guebert, Jr. Wednesday told RFD Radio Network the organization was keeping an eye on a number of issues important to members, including the proposed graduated income tax and increases to the motor fuel tax, as well as trade deals with a number of nations. (Illinois Farm Bureau file photo)

By Rachel Torbert

Even though lawmakers are taking a short break for the Easter holiday, that doesn’t mean Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) staff and leaders are letting up on their push to advocate for IFB priority issues.

Speaking with RFD Radio Network Wednesday, IFB President Richard Guebert, Jr. highlighted some of the issues currently top-of-mind at both the state and federal level, including Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed graduated income tax, measures to increase the motor fuel tax, and pending trade agreements.

Kicking off the discussion with the governor’s proposed graduated income tax, Guebert said the legislation had moved out committee in the Senate Thursday, completing another step in a lengthy process to get the proposal on the ballot and before Illinois residents.

“Our policy says that we support a flat tax, not this graduated income tax,” Guebert said. “We do oppose it and will have a call to action coming out later this week for our members to call their senators and voice their opposition.”

Guebert added more calls to action will be coming in the future.

“The following week or so after the House gets the bill, or it’s presented in the House, then we’ll do a second call to action on the very same bill to state our opposition,” Guebert said. He added that a number of organizations across the state also oppose the governor’s proposed tax change and IFB is actively working with those organizations to challenge the bill.

Guebert also mentioned the organization’s work in reviewing proposals regarding potential motor fuel tax increases. One such proposal would double the state’s gas tax from .19 cents a gallon to .38 cents a gallon and would increase the annual vehicle registration fee by $50, or $130 more for electric vehicles.


Video: IFB President Richard Guebert, Jr. discusses IFB policy surrounding the motor fuel tax as well as current proposals to increase the gas tax.

Moving to federal issues, Guebert said the organization is still actively monitoring and engaged in trade, urging the Trump administration to get a number of deals signed and put in place during an in-person, on-farm visit with Vice President Mike Pence earlier in the month.

“We all told him (Vice President Pence) we need a quick win and we need to get the USMCA across the finish line,” Guebert said. “Mexico and Canada are our neighbors and very good trading partners.”

Guebert also highlighted the need to finish negotiations with Japan, the European Union, and China.

“We have to find some balance moving forward with the trade agreements and get them done,” Guebert said. “The other conversation we had with the vice president was to lift the tariffs on steel and aluminum to get these (deals) across the finish line. He encouraged us to continue to visit with our Congressional leadership to support the USMCA.”

Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.