Since 2010, Illinois has lost a net 650,000 residents to other states
The beauty of our federal system of government is that if its citizens are out-voted at the polling place they may vote with their feet.
The early returns are in and Illinois is losing and Wisconsin is winning at its expense.
In fiscal 2015-16, according to the IRS, 6,022 taxpayers and their dependents moved to Wisconsin from Illinois. They brought with them $253 million of adjusted gross income. (Wisconsin gained 427 from Iowa, 177 from Michigan, but lost 986 to Minnesota.) Just think what Foxconn will do for Wisconsin!
In all, Illinois lost a net 87,837 residents to other states and $4.8 billion in AGI. Illinois is already on pace to lose one congressman in reapportionment; it could lose a second at this rate.
Why? One word: taxes.
A poll conducted in 2016 by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute (“It’s the bow tie,” as Al Franken used to say) cited taxes as the No. 1 reason for wanting to leave the state. The Flatlanders bear the heaviest property tax burden in the nation, according to the Illinois Policy Institute — double the national average.
Will Illinois taxpayers revolt in next fall’s elections and send their Democrat(ic) legislators fleeing to Beloit? On our side of the state line, property taxes are lower today than they were eight years ago before Scott Walker took office. As a percentage of median household income, they are the lowest since 1946 whereas, in Illinois, they have grown 3.3 times faster than income.
The Tax Foundation conducts the best measure of 50-state taxation. Counting federal, state, and local taxes computed by ability to pay, Illinois paid the 8th-most taxes; Wisconsin and Minnesota the 12th most. Still not good, but Wisconsin is moving in the right direction.
The Illinois Policy Institute calls prevailing-wage laws “another massive blow to local governments’ bottom lines.” These laws can mandate six-figure salaries and benefits for the lucky private-sector employees who work on government projects,\. Wisconsin abolished its prevailing wage laws, which artificially inflate government construction contracts (paid by taxpayers).
The Illinois Policy Institute explains why Illinois should adopt its own Act 10:
Illinois public union bargaining rules stack the deck against taxpayers, especially when compared with neighboring states. Illinois alone enshrines a right to strike for most government workers … a bullying tactic through which government unions can shut down important services until their demands are met. Unlike most of its neighbors, Illinois doesn’t limit contract length for workers contracts and places virtually no limits on what can be negotiated.
The best indicator of economic health is employment. Wisconsin’s unemployment rate was 3.2% in November (the lowest since 1999) compared to 4.9% in Illinois and 3.1% in Minnesota. The national average was 4.1%.
Illinois is the most Democrat(ic) state in the Midwest
Our acquaintances (for they ARE our acquaintances) like to cite Minnesota as that liberal-progressive-socialist Shangrila, a colder but more Scandinavian rebuke to Scott Walker’s “Wississippi.”
Yes, Minnesota’s governor is a liberal Democrat. May we remind our acquaintances that both houses of its legislature are Republican? That Minnesota has had mixed government for most of the last 25 years?
Illinois is the most Democrat(ic) state in the Midwest. Its legislature and governor have been Democrat(ic) since 2003 until Bruce Rauner in 2015 and he has been frustrated by a recalcitrant Democrat(ic) legislature.
Meanwhile, The Tax Foundation’s 2018 State Business Tax Climate just came out. It shows Wisconsin ranked at #38, one spot better than a year ago. That’s better than Minnesota, which was 46th best (or 6th worst, counting D.C.). Ironically, Illinois (at #29) beat both of us. (New Jersey, New York, and California were the worst.)