Illinois state Rep. Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City)
Illinois state Rep. Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City) says the reason people are fleeing the state in record numbers is quite simple.
“People go where business is friendly, and we don’t have that in Illinois,” Wilhour told the South Central Reporter. “That’s the biggest reason people are leaving Illinois, high taxes and lack of opportunity as the result of high taxes from a business environment that’s totally unfriendly to investors.”
The impact is clear, as a new NPR and University of Illinois-Springfield study finds that 61 percent of all taxpayers admit they have thought of leaving the state due to the soaring tax rates. The current figure shows an 8-percent increase over last year's study.
Twenty-seven percent of respondents cited high taxes as the top reason would move out of state, with households earning upward of $100,000 leading the way among that group at 68 percent. For many, the thought of leaving is more than just a pipe dream, as Illinois is the only state in the U.S. whose population has declined in each of the last two years and more than 157,000 residents have reportedly fled in the past five years.
“And still politicians don’t want to fix anything and want to keep the status quo,” Wilhour said. “They don’t want pension reform, property tax reform or regulatory changes. It’s all about the money. If you’re going to reform pensions there’s a lot of special-interest money to defeat you, and if you’re willing to keep the status quo there’s a lot of big money that people want to give to you.”