Business & Economy
More Conference Expenditures Placed Under Microscope PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 04 October 2011 08:02

Monday, October 3, 2011

More Conference Expenditures Placed Under Microscope

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley has inquired about taxpayer dollars being spent on yet another conference, this time in Tokyo, as part of an “International Series” of conferences according to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals website.  The intellectual property conference is being sponsored, in part, by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to the tune of $189,600.  The office is also sending several employees to the conference. In addition, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals is apparently sending up to eight people to the international conference.

Grassley has previously looked at conference expenditures, most recently following a Justice Department Inspector General’s office report outlining unacceptable amounts of spending.

“Between 2008 and 2010, spending on conferences at the Justice Department increased from $47.8 million to $91.5 million.  The Justice Department may or may not be the only bad egg in the bunch, but they helped shine a light on outrageous spending, just when we need to be tightening our belt.  A nearly $200,000 conference appears to be just why we need to put a microscope on conference expenses at agencies across the federal government,” Grassley said.

Grassley sent letters to both the Department of Commerce and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts asking questions about the Tokyo conference and the “International Series.”

Here are copies of the text of the letters.  Copies of the signed letters to the Department of Commerce and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts can be found here.

 

VIA ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION

The Honorable Rebecca M. Blank

Acting Secretary

U.S. Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20230

Dear Acting Secretary Blank:

I am writing because of information that I have received about spending related to an intellectual property conference in Tokyo, Japan, which is scheduled for late October 2011.  I am concerned about the amount of taxpayer dollars spent by Administrative agencies for conferences, seminars and travel, especially during this time of fiscal constraint.

 

The website for the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals (CAFC) states that the conference is part of an “International Series” of conferences that was developed in November 2010 to “look for the ‘best practices in legal systems’ worldwide and ‘how those practices—both in terms of governance and the practice of law—relate to innovation and the betterment of societies.’” The website lists the Department of Commerce and the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) among those funding the conferences.  It is my understanding that the USPTO is spending approximately $189,600 to sponsor the Tokyo conference.

 

According to information I have received from a whistleblower, the USPTO will be sending at least four participants to the Tokyo conference, including its Director, Deputy Director and its Deputy General Counsel and the CAFC will be sending as many as eight participants including: the Chief Judge of the court, five other Circuit Judges, the Circuit Executive and Clerk of the court.

Consequently, I have a number of questions about the Tokyo conference, other conferences sponsored by USPTO and/or its affiliate, the Global Intellectual Property Academy (GIPA), and the amount of government funds being spent on travel by the USPTO.  Accordingly, please respond to the following requests for information:

 

  1. Has the USPTO previously sponsored or is it committed to sponsor any of the conferences in the International Series?  If so, for each such conference, set forth the date(s), location, title and subject matter.  Also, for each such conference, set forth how much the USPTO paid or is planning to pay to be a sponsor.

 

  1. Has the USPTO paid for any of its employees to attend any of the past conferences in the International Series?  If so, for each such conference, identify by name and title, the employee(s) who attended.  Also, for each such conference identify the date(s), location, title and subject matter.  Finally, for each such conference, set forth how much the USPTO paid for the employee(s) to attend, broken down by (a) conference fees, (b) travel expenses, (c) hotel expenses, (d) meals and (e) other expenses.

 

  1. Is the USPTO planning to pay for any of its employees to attend the Tokyo conference?  If so, identify by name and title, the employee(s) who are scheduled to attend.  Also, set forth how much the USPTO is planning to spend in connection with its employees attending, broken down by: (a) conference fees, (b) travel expenses, (c) hotel expenses, (d) meals and (e) other expenses.

 

  1. If you submit your responses after the Tokyo conference has taken place and employees attended, identify by name and title, the employee(s) who actually attended, if any.  Also, if applicable, set forth how much the USPTO actually paid for the employee(s) to attend, broken down by (a) conference fees, (b) travel expenses, (c) hotel expenses, (d) meals and (e) other expenses.

 

  1. Other than the Tokyo conference, is the USPTO planning on paying to have any of its employees attend any of the other conferences in the International Series?  If so, for each such conference, identify by name and title, the employee(s) who are scheduled to attend.  If specific individuals are not yet scheduled to attend, for each conference set forth how many individuals the USPTO is planning on paying for.  Also, for each such conference identify the date(s), location, title and subject matter.  Finally, for each such conference, set forth how much the USPTO is planning to pay for its employee(s) to attend, broken down by (a) conference fees, (b) travel expenses, (c) hotel expenses, (d) meals and (e) other expenses.

 

  1. During the last three years, has the USPTO sponsored any conferences or seminars?  If so, for each such conference or seminar, set forth the date(s), location, title and subject matter.  Also, for each such conference or seminar, set forth how much the USPTO paid to be a sponsor.

 

  1. During the last three years, has the USPTO paid for any of its employees to attend a conference or seminar?  If so, for each such conference or seminar, set forth the date(s), location, title and subject matter.  And for each such conference/seminar, identify by name and title, the employee(s) who attended.  Also, for each conference or seminar, set forth how much the USPTO paid for the employee(s) to attend, broken down by (a) conference fees, (b) travel expenses, (c) hotel expenses, (d) meals and (e) other expenses.

 

  1. During the next three years, is the USPTO planning to sponsor any conferences or seminars?  If so, for each such conference or seminar, set forth the date(s), location, title and subject matter.  Also, for each such conference or seminar, set forth how much the USPTO is planning to pay to be a sponsor.

 

  1. During the next three years, is the USPTO planning to pay for any of its employees to attend a conference or seminar?  If so, for each such conference or seminar, set forth the date(s), location, title and subject matter.  Also, for each such conference or seminar, set forth how much the USPTO is planning to pay for its employee(s) to attend.  If possible break down those amounts by: (a) conference fees, (b) travel expenses, (c) hotel expenses, (d) meals and (e) other expenses.

 

  1. Does the USPTO have a policy governing its sponsorship of conferences or seminars?  If so, and if that policy is in writing, provide a copy of the document.  If the USPTO has a policy but it is not in writing, set forth the policy and explain why it is not a written policy.

 

  1. Does the USPTO have a policy governing its paying for its employees to attend conferences or seminars?  If so, and if that policy is in writing, provide a copy of the document.  If the USPTO has a policy but it is not in writing, set forth the policy and explain why it is not a written policy.

 

These are basic questions, the answers to which should be readily available. Please respond in writing by October 14, 2011.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Janet Drew or Tristan Leavitt of my staff at (202) 224-5225.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Grassley
Ranking Member

 

 

VIA ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION

Jill Sayenga

Acting Director

Administrative Office of the United States Courts
One Columbus Circle, NE
Washington, D.C. 20544

Dear Acting Director Sayenga:

I am writing because of information that I have received about spending related to an intellectual property conference in Tokyo, Japan, which is scheduled for late October 2011.  I am concerned about the amount of taxpayer dollars the Federal Judiciary and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts spend on travel, especially during this time of fiscal constraint.

The website for the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals (CAFC) states that the conference is part of an “International Series” of conferences that was developed in November 2010 to “look for the ‘best practices in legal systems’ worldwide and ‘how those practices—both in terms of governance and the practice of law—relate to innovation and the betterment of societies.’” The website lists the Department of Commerce and the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) among those funding the conferences.  It is my understanding that the USPTO is spending $189,600 to sponsor the Tokyo conference.

According to information I have received from a whistleblower, the USPTO will be sending at least four participants to the Tokyo conference, including its Director, Deputy Director and its Deputy General Counsel and the CAFC will be sending as many as eight participants including: the Chief Judge of the court, five other Circuit Judges, the Circuit Executive and Clerk of the court.

Consequently, I have a number of questions about the Tokyo conference, the other conferences in the International Series and the amount of government funds being spent on travel by the Federal Judiciary.  Accordingly, please respond to the following requests for information:

 

1. Has the CAFC previously sponsored or is it committed to sponsor any of the conferences in the International Series?  If so, for each such conference, set forth the date(s), location, title and subject matter.  Also, for each such conference, set forth how much the CAFC paid or is planning to pay to be a sponsor.

 

2. Has the CAFC paid for any of its judges or employees to attend any of the past conferences in the International Series?  If so, for each such conference, identify by name and title, the judge(s) and/or employee(s) who attended.  Also, for each such conference identify the date(s), location, title and subject matter.  Finally, for each such conference, set forth how much the CAFC paid for the judge(s) and/or employee(s) to attend, broken down by (a) conference fees, (b) travel expenses, (c) hotel expenses, (d) meals and (e) other expenses.

 

3. Is the CAFC planning to pay for any of its judges or employees to attend the Tokyo conference?  If so, identify by name and title, the judge(s) and/or employee(s) who are scheduled to attend.  Also, set forth how much the CAFC is planning to spend in connection with its judges and/or employees attending, broken down by: (a) conference fees, (b) travel expenses, (c) hotel expenses, (d) meals and (e) other expenses.

 

  1. If you submit your responses after the Tokyo conference has taken place and CAFC judges or employees attended, identify by name and title, the judge(s) and/or employee(s) who actually attended, if any.  Also, if applicable, set forth how much the CAFC actually paid for the judge(s) and/or employee(s) to attend, broken down by (a) conference fees, (b) travel expenses, (c) hotel expenses, (d) meals and (e) other expenses.

 

  1. Other than the Tokyo conference, is the CAFC planning on paying to have any of its judges or employees attend any of the other conferences in the International Series?  If so, for each such conference, identify by name and title, the judge(s) and/or employee(s) who are scheduled to attend.  If specific individuals are not yet scheduled to attend, for each conference set forth how many individuals the CAFC is planning on paying for.  Also, for each such conference identify the date(s), location, title and subject matter.  Finally, for each such conference, set forth how much the CAFC is planning to pay for its judge(s) and/or employee(s) to attend, broken down by (a) conference fees, (b) travel expenses, (c) hotel expenses, (d) meals and (e) other expenses.

 

  1. During the last three years, has the Federal Judiciary (including the CAFC) sponsored any conferences or seminars?  If so, for each such conference or seminar, set forth the date(s), location, title and subject matter.  Also, for each such conference or seminar, set forth how much the Federal Judiciary paid to be a sponsor.

 

  1. During the last three years, has the Federal Judiciary paid for any of its judge(s) and/or employees to attend a conference or seminar?  If so, for each such conference or seminar, set forth the date(s), location, title and subject matter.  And for each such conference/seminar, identify by name and title, the judge(s) and/or employee(s) who attended.  Also, for each conference or seminar, set forth how much the Federal Judiciary paid for the judge(s) and/or employee(s) to attend, broken down by (a) conference fees, (b) travel expenses, (c) hotel expenses, (d) meals and (e) other expenses.

 

  1. During the next three years, is the Federal Judiciary planning to sponsor any conferences or seminars?  If so, for each such conference or seminar, set forth the date(s), location, title and subject matter.  Also, for each such conference or seminar, set forth how much the Federal Judiciary is planning to pay to be a sponsor.

 

  1. During the next three years, is the Federal Judiciary planning to pay for any of its judge(s) and/or employees to attend a conference or seminar?  If so, for each such conference or seminar, set forth the date(s), location, title and subject matter.  Also, for each such conference or seminar, set forth how much the Federal Judiciary is planning to pay for its judge(s) or employee(s) to attend.  If possible break down those amounts by: (a) conference fees, (b) travel expenses, (c) hotel expenses, (d) meals and (e) other expenses.

 

  1. Does the Federal Judiciary have a policy governing its sponsorship of conferences or seminars?  If so, and if that policy is in writing, provide a copy of the document.  If the Federal Judiciary has a policy but it is not in writing, set forth the policy and explain why it is not a written policy.

 

  1. Does the Federal Judiciary have a policy governing its paying for its judges or employees to attend conferences or seminars?  If so, and if that policy is in writing, provide a copy of the document.  If the Federal Judiciary has a policy but it is not in writing, set forth the policy and explain why it is not a written policy.

 

These are basic questions, the answers to which should be readily available. Please respond in writing by October 14, 2011.

 
Grassley and Kohl Urge Action on Sunshine Law PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 04 October 2011 07:56

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) are pressing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on missing a deadline for drafting regulations for the Physician Payment Sunshine Act (Sunshine Act), a new law requiring public disclosure of the financial relationships between physicians and the pharmaceutical, medical device and biologics industries.

“Prompt federal guidance is urgently needed to ensure a smooth path toward increasing disclosure, eliminating conflicts and ultimately providing patients with the tools they need to make informed health choices,” Grassley and Kohl wrote in a letter to CMS Administrator Dr. Donald Berwick.

The Sunshine Act requires manufacturers to report all payments to physicians, including consulting fees, honoraria, travel and entertainment, and for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to publicly disclose the identity of the manufacturer, physician, and the drug or device associated with the payment on the internet. Additionally, the law requires manufacturers and group purchasing organizations (GPOs) to report all ownership or investment interests held by physicians or members of their family, and for making that information public. The law required HHS to establish guidance on how manufacturers submit information and how the information would be made available to the public no later than October 1, 2011.

The Sunshine Act was developed by Grassley and Kohl after numerous investigations and hearings revealed that large sums of money were going to physicians for sometimes questionable purposes. Some of these payments were the subject of a federal criminal inquiry which resulted in $400 million in fines and legal costs paid by the major orthopedic medical device manufacturers. Ultimately, Congress passed the Sunshine Act as part of the health care reform law in response to growing concerns over industry payments to physicians and their potential negative effects on patient care and the need to restrain health care costs.

In their letter, Grassley and Kohl also asked why CMS failed to meet the statutory deadline and requested a timeline on establishing regulations.

Manufacturers and GPOs are required to start complying with the law by collecting payment data beginning January 1, 2012, and must begin reporting this information to the government on March 31, 2013. Starting September 30, 2013, the details of these payments must be made available to the public. Violations of the disclosure requirements can result in civil monetary penalties ranging from $1,000 to $100,000.

 

The text of the letter follows.

October 3, 2011

Donald Berwick, M.D., M.P.P

Administrator

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

200 Independence Avenue, S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20201

 

Dear Administrator Berwick:

As authors and sponsors of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (Sunshine Act), which was included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, we write today to express our severe disappointment in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for failing to meet the October 1, 2011, deadline to draft the regulations mandated by the health care reform law.

While many interactions between the pharmaceutical and medical device industries and medical professionals are beneficial to medical science and lead to innovation, the Sunshine Act was developed after numerous investigations and hearings revealed that large sums of money were going to physicians for sometimes questionable purposes.  Some of these payments were the subject of a federal criminal inquiry which resulted in $400 million in fines and legal costs paid by the major orthopedic medical device manufacturers.  Ultimately, Congress passed the Sunshine Act in response to growing concerns over industry payments to physicians and their potential negative effects on patient care and efforts to restrain healthcare costs.

Under the provisions of this law, manufacturers are required to report to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) all payments to physicians, including consulting fees, honoraria, travel, and entertainment, for public disclosure by the Secretary.  The Secretary is then instructed to include the identity of the manufacturer, the physician, and the drug or device associated with the payment on the internet.  An additional provision requires manufacturers and group purchasing organizations (GPOs) to report all ownership or investment interests held by physicians or members of their family, also for public reporting by the Secretary.  It is our understanding that the Secretary has delegated implementation of this provision to CMS.

Manufacturers and GPOs are required to start complying with the law by collecting data beginning January 1, 2012, and must begin reporting this information to the government on March 31, 2013.  Beginning on September 30, 2013, the details of these payments are to be made available to the public.  Violations of the disclosure requirements can result in civil monetary penalties ranging from $1,000 to $100,000.

In order to ensure that manufacturers had adequate time to comply, the law required that the Secretary establish procedures not later than October 1, 2011, describing how manufactures are to submit information and how the information will be made available to the public.  In addition, in establishing these procedures the Secretary was required to “consult with the Inspector General, affected industry, consumers, consumer advocates and other interested parties to ensure that the information made available to the public is presented in the appropriate context.”

The deadline for establishing procedures has passed and there has not been, to our knowledge, adequate consultation with either industry representatives or consumer advocates.  Therefore, we are concerned that CMS’s failure to implement the statutory provisions on time with clear guidance, standards and definitions will create confusion among both manufacturers and consumers, potentially placing taxpayer dollars at risk.

Although many of the large pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, universities, and even the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have already begun to implement disclosure policies voluntarily, we are concerned that smaller companies are waiting for clarity and direction from CMS and will find the lack of timely guidance burdensome and costly.  Prompt federal guidance is urgently needed to ensure a smooth path toward increasing disclosure, eliminating conflicts, and ultimately providing patients with the tools they need to make informed health choices.

In a conference call with our staff on Friday, September 23, 2011, your agency assured us that you have sent the proposed rule over to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. So that we may better monitor this progress, please answer the following questions in writing no later than October 14, 2011:

(1)   What is your timetable for implementing the Sunshine Act?

(2)   When did you originally send the proposed rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)?  Please include any dates that follow-up was conducted and for what reason.

(3) Why have you failed to meet the statutory deadline?

(4) What is the anticipated release date of the preliminary regulations?  How long will the regulations be open for comment as required by the statute? What is your timeline for issuing final regulations?

In addition to your written response, please have the appropriate CMS officials contact our staff no later than October 7 to schedule an in-depth briefing on these issues and an open discussion on a path forward that allows both a timely implementation and a robust comment period.

Should you have any questions regarding this letter, please contact Erika Smith of the Senate Judiciary Committee staff at (202) 224-5225 or Jack Mitchell of the Senate Special Committee on Aging staff at (202) 224-5364. Thank you for your immediate attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,

 

Charles E. Grassley                       Herb Kohl

Ranking Member                         Chairman

Committee on the Judiciary                      Senate Special Committee on Aging

 
Morthland Proposes Sales Tax Exemptions for IL Farmers PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Rich Morthland   
Monday, 03 October 2011 14:28

Moline, IL...State Representative Rich Morthland (R-Cordova) has filed legislation offering sales tax exemptions for Illinois farmers. House Bill 3817 exempts the sales tax imposed on fence posts, fencing, and farm gates. House Bill 3818 exempts the sale tax imposed on baling twine, baling wire, plastic bags, plastic sleeves, and plastic sheeting

Representative Morthland, a seventh generation Illinois farmer, explained that farmers cross the Mississippi River to Iowa to make agricultural supply purchases because Iowa has a more favorable tax structure.

"Every time a farmer crosses the river to buy agricultural products, the State of Illinois loses employment potential and revenue opportunities on all of the purchases made that currently do not qualify for the sales tax exemption," Morthland said.

Morthland's legislation requires that the purchaser certifies the items will be used for farm production.

"Sales taxes on agricultural production goods act like a cumulative value added tax which, incidentally, Illinois rejected under Rod Blagojevich," Morthland said. "Some people will look at this like, 'it's just fence materials and twine,' but to the Illinois farmer who buys in bulk, these taxes can be burdensome."

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Baucus, Grassley Uncover Gaming of the Medicare System by For-PROFIT Home Health Companies PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 03 October 2011 14:11
Finance Senators Release Report Showing Companies Intentionally Increased Frequency of Home Health Visits to Manipulate Reimbursement Rates

Washington, DC – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and senior Finance Committee Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today released a Finance Committee staff report showing tactics used by major for-profit home health companies to game Medicare.  The result has been waste of taxpayer dollars and the delivery of what could be medically-unnecessary patient care to increase the companies’ profits.  Baucus and Grassley initiated the investigation into the improper practices as part of the Committee’s oversight role of the Medicare and Medicaid programs and the Senators’ ongoing commitment to protect patients and taxpayer dollars from waste, fraud and abuse.

“The gaming of Medicare represents serious abuse of the home health program,” said Baucus.  “Elderly patients in the Medicare system should not be used as pawns to increase a company’s profits. Especially in these tough economic times, taxpayers simply cannot afford for their dollars to be wasted on unnecessary care.  We are going to continue to crack down on these companies to ensure taxpayer dollars are used efficiently and Medicare patients are protected.”

“The reimbursement policy encourages gaming, and gaming is what’s occurred.   Companies are doing everything they can to make as much money as possible, whether the patients need the care or not.  The federal government needs to fix the policy that lets Medicare money flow down the drain.  This can’t wait until tomorrow.  It should have been done yesterday.  The longer this kind of policy continues, the more Medicare’s budget balloons, and the bigger the burden on taxpayers,” Grassley said.

In May 2010, Baucus and Grassley began their investigation into home health therapy practices at Amedisys, LHC Group, Gentiva, and Almost Family in response to a media report that these home health companies took advantage of the Medicare therapy payment system by providing medically-unnecessary patient care.

The Committee staff report released today examines documents provided by the companies which show how therapists were encouraged to target the most profitable number of therapy visits, even when patient need may not have required such visits.  In addition, therapy visit records for each company showed concentrated numbers of therapy visits at or just above the point at which a “bonus” payment was triggered by the Medicare program.

Internal documents from three of the four companies, Amedisys, LHC Group and Gentiva, provided evidence of top-down strategies to game Medicare.  Highlights from the report include:

  • Managers encouraged therapists to meet a 10-visit target that would have increased their payments from Medicare.
  • An “A-Team” tasked with developing programs to target the most profitable Medicare therapy treatment patterns.
  • Therapists and regional managers that were pressured to follow new clinical guidelines developed to maximize Medicare reimbursements.
  • Top managers instructed employees to increase the number of therapy visits provided in order to increase case mix and revenue.
  • A competitive ranking system for management aimed at driving therapy visit patterns toward profitable levels.
  • Evidence that management discussed increasing therapy visits and expanding specialty programs to increase revenue.

The Medicare Part A program pays out an estimated $19 billion yearly for home health care.  Fraud, waste and abuse in the health care system cost Americans an estimated $60 billion a year, approximately three percent of total health care spending.

Baucus and Grassley have led numerous major investigations of the health care industry to protect consumers and taxpayer dollars.  Earlier this year, when their investigation found that the drug company Sanofi interfered in the approval of generic alternatives to its blood-thinner drug Lovenox, the Finance leaders called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help guarantee consumers have access to affordable generic medications.  Last December, Baucus and Grassley released a report detailing the relationship between Abbott labs and a Maryland doctor who allegedly implanted nearly 600 unnecessary cardiac stents into his patients, costing the federal government as much as $3.8 million in overpayments.  The specific stent case highlighted in the Senators’ report is indicative of a widespread, national problem of unnecessary stenting.  The Senators also spearheaded a two year inquiry which revealed undisclosed side effects of the diabetes drug Avandia.  This resulted in the FDA restricting use of the drug, ensuring that patients and doctors have the information they need to make safe, informed decisions about their medication.

The Committee’s full report is available here.

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Morthland's Gas Tax Report Released PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Rich Morthland   
Monday, 03 October 2011 14:08

Moline, IL...State Representative Rich Morthland's (R-Cordova) House Resolution 328 directed the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability to conduct an objective, non-political examination of the State's policy of charging "ad valorem" Illinois sales taxes on motor fuel. This report revealed various factors contributing to the price of gas sold in Illinois.

"Our gasoline sales tax of 6.25% makes Illinois the 3rd highest total tax on fuel in the nation," Morthland said. "This tax has a compounding effect as it increases when gas prices increase. This contributes to flight to Iowa and other states that don't have such a punitive tax structure." Morthland continued, "When we buy our gas in Iowa, it's not uncommon to pick a few groceries or other items there." 

The COGFA report speculates that this tax structure has a negative on business in Illinois.

"It's nice to have the income, but it's not necessarily a good dollar in if it's hurting our state and derailing Illinois jobs by pushing sales across state borders," Morthland said. "I am working on a form of tax relief for border communities in Illinois to restore our competitive edge."

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