Banning self-serve gas stations in Illinois in 2021 makes about as much sense as mandating that gas stations offer leaded fuel.

Consumers want more efficiency, not less. In fact, consumers generally abhor inefficiency. Especially when it is mandated by the government.

State Rep. Camille Lilly, D-Oak Park, who earned an executive MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, recently introduced House Bill 4571. The bill would mandate that “no gas may be pumped at a gas station in this State unless it is pumped by a gas station attendant employed at the gas station,” according to a synopsis of the measure.

Lilly tried to walk back the bill she filed after fierce criticism.

“House Bill 4571 is concept legislation to create safety and convenience at the pump,” she posted in a statement on Facebook. “House Bill 4571 is not intended to pass as is. The intention of this bill is to give consumers the option to be serviced by a gas station attendant, in addition to the self-service option currently used. House Bill 4571 could potentially create jobs that impact the local economy.”

It is clear times are tough in Illinois when a Kellogg alum files legislation that’s bad for both businesses and consumers. And then puts out a statement saying she didn’t really want that legislation to pass anyway.

Lilly is hardly alone when it comes to filing sensationally terrible bills in the Illinois General Assembly. After all, a group of Republicans filed a bill to kick Chicago out of Illinois and create a new state.

Yes, headline-grabbing bills can be fun. And I’m all for having fun. But state lawmakers need to get serious. Illinois actually has pressing problems that need to be dealt with.

Property taxes continue to rise, putting downward pressure on home values and pushing people to move out of state. A commission tasked with coming up with ways to reduce property taxes failed to turn in a required final report.

And Illinois’ bills continue to pile up even as the state collects more and more money from taxpayers.

Worse yet is the state’s pension problem. That $137 billion unfunded liability threatens to sink Illinois like a stone while politicians from both sides of the aisle nibble at the edges of the problem.

Unless Illinois finds a way to deal with property taxes and pensions, it won’t really matter who fills the tanks of the moving trucks for the people moving out of state.

Brett Rowland has worked as a reporter in newsrooms in Illinois and Wisconsin. He most recently served as news editor of the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake. He previously held the same position at the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb.

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