By State Senator Jerry Sonnenberg and State Representative Richard Holtorf
For many families, the impact of inflation and the increased cost of living has hit hard. What was once affordable and within reach for families is no longer. Their budgets can no longer cover their increased costs and they worry about how they will keep paying their bills if inflation continues like it did last year.
Constituents, across our districts, have expressed to us the real challenges that they face when paying for the increased cost of gas at the pump to travel the long distances that many have to in the rural parts of the state. They worry about paying to heat their home during the cold winter and put food on their table. Some even express that they are no longer able to afford a meal at McDonald’s, a place that was once considered to be a more affordable spot to take our children or grandkids.
Today, inflation is costing the average American family almost $200 a month, or $2,100 a year. Consumer prices have increased by 5.4 percent, producer prices 8.6 percent, and the CPCE index spiked by the fastest rate in 30 years. In 2021 alone:
- Housing prices have increased 20 percent, a record high, and are expected to continue to rise nearly 16 percent in the following year.
- Oil prices have risen more than 65 percent, natural gas 112 percent, and coal 35 percent.
- The average cost of a used vehicle has increased 21 percent and almost 5 percent for new cars.
- Gas prices have reached a seven-year high, costing anywhere from $1 to $1.50 more a gallon.
- Food prices have risen at a faster average than they did in the past decade, costing, on average, an additional 3 percent a month.