In his State of the State address on Wednesday Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn urged lawmakers to eliminate the state’s natural gas utility tax.

Quinn said eliminating the tax, one of three tax cuts he proposed in his “Illinois Jobs Agenda,” would provide relief to consumers and businesses alike.

“This is a tax that’s unfair; it’s regressive,” Quinn said. “It’s not based on the ability to pay. And regardless of income, or whether or not you’re making a profit, you pay this tax. The elimination of this tax will save money for households and cut costs for employers across Illinois.”

The Democratic governor added that if the tax were eliminated, Illinois “will be the only state in the Midwest without a natural gas utility tax on manufacturers, retailers and everyday families.”

According to the Illinois Department of Revenue, the natural gas tax generated $159.4 million of revenue in fiscal 2011, about 5.4% of the $29.4 billion the state collected overall.

The tax is imposed on natural gas purchases from outside of Illinois for their own use but not for resale. Purchasers of natural gas can either pay the tax through their distributor or assess the tax themselves.

Entities in state enterprise zones are exempt from the tax, as are utilities that use natural gas to generate electricity. Natural gas used in petroleum refinery operations, liquefaction and fractionation, the production of anhydrous ammonia and downstream nitrogen fertilizer products is also exempt from the tax.

©Copyright 2012Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news reportmay not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in anyform, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.