IFB digesting General Assembly's final sprint

State lawmakers tackle variety of major issues.

An increase in the state motor fuel tax is among the big issues debated in Springfield last week. (Illinois Farm Bureau file photo)

By DeLoss Jahnke

A “historic” session is complete in Springfield, and now comes the time to figure out how the General Assembly’s decisions could impact farmers.

The legislative session had to go into a weekend overtime period, but lawmakers completed some heavy lifting.

“Whether you like what was done or whether you don’t, and I know there are people on both sides of that, it was a monumental session in the fact that there were some extremely large and significant pieces of legislation passed,” said Mark Gebhards, Illinois Farm Bureau’s executive director of governmental affairs and commodities.

“As far as passing major pieces of legislation, that this has got to be one of the more historic sessions,” he said, adding it’s been a long time that the state has tackled and reached a consensus on so many major issues.

For agriculture, while Gebhards said there will be good results from last weekend’s legislation.

“There’s some things that unfortunately are going to cost people more money. But that’s the price tag that comes when you say you want to put money into infrastructure, for example. There has to be a revenue source.”

In this case, the revenue source in question is the motor fuel tax. On July 1, the rate for that tax will double from the 19-cent level it’s had since 1990.

Reflecting on the whirlwind weekend in Springfield, Gebhards said there are some good results for agriculture.

“Some additional dollars, for example, for some of our conservation activities, things of that nature,” he told RFD Radio Network® on Monday. “And agriculture did not lose ground as it relates to the (Illinois) Department of Agriculture and the funding for that agency to be able to do what they need to do.”

IFB plans to conduct a conference call with county Farm Bureau managers and presidents to help share information with members and summarize actions that took place in a wild final week at the state Capitol.

Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.