Perry Zhao, an Illinois voter and Chicago Thinker staff writer, joined a Monday morning Fox & Friends panel to discuss the then-upcoming June 28 primary elections. After contending that inflation and crime will be the biggest issues for Illinoisans in 2022, Zhao condemned Governor J. B. Pritzker (D., Illinois) for imposing “at least 20 new taxes” since entering office in 2019 and thereby creating an unfriendly economic climate.
“If you talk about inflation,” Zhao asserted, “we first need to talk about taxes.” Harnessing data from the state comptroller, Zhao added that during the COVID-19 pandemic, Pritzker’s administration “harvested more taxpayer money out of hardworking Illinoisans than even during any year of [former Republican Governor] Bruce Rauner’s administration.”
Especially unforgivable for Zhao was Pritzker more than doubling the state’s gas tax from 19 cents per gallon to 39 cents, which Zhao contends “contributes to Illinoisans paying at the pump.” Zhao is also unhappy that Pritzker approved automatic annual tax increases.
“We need to hold lawmakers here accountable,” said Zhao, “for signing this incredibly unpopular bill into law, and, not only that, signing on increases every year so they didn’t have to vote on these unpopular tax hikes that are absolutely killing Illinoisans at the pump.”
Zhao’s fellow panelists were Tara Kohl, a Colorado voter unhappy with her state’s liberal abortion laws, and Mike Hampton of Oklahoma, who is livid about record-high gas prices. Taking aim at President Joe Biden, Hampton said he “can’t believe that [the natural gas] industry is being destroyed right now so quickly by this administration.”
Taking to Twitter after his appearance, Zhao wrote, “Don’t let JB’s ‘gas tax freeze’ convince you—under him, IL CURRENTLY has the second highest gas taxes behind CA.” This tweet apparently refers to the Land of Lincoln delaying its automatic two-cent hike in fuel taxes and suspending the 1% grocery tax.
A recent poll by the Republican firm Fabrizio, Lee & Associates found that J. B. Pritzker leads his GOP opponent, conservative state Senator Darren Bailey, by seven points among likely voters. But Bailey leads by three points—49% to 46%—among those who have heard of both candidates.