South Central Reporter

South Central Reporter

Friday, December 6, 2019

California's 'wealth exodus' a forecast for Illinois, Rep. Wilhour cautions


By Glenn Minnis | Nov 11, 2019

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Illinois state Rep. Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher)

Illinois House Rep. Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher) needs voters' help in creating much-needed change in state government.

“Unfortunately, every time we’re in a financial crisis, and we constantly are because we spend too much money and regulate businesses way too much, [Democratic state leaders] talk about increasing taxes,” Wilhour told the South Central Reporter. “Taxpayers are already voting with their feet, and everybody knows that in order to increase revenue you need to create economic growth.”

Wilhour has long argued that the progressive income tax proposal being pushed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker is not the answer, and now he points to a new Stanford University study that finds similar legislation in California has fallen far short of its stated intentions. Researchers found the law has “triggered a wealth exodus” with roughly 40 percent of the state's most affluent admitting they are more likely to leave the state as a result of the legislation enacted in 2012.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker

All the promises about revenues being earmarked for classrooms and other services have proven hollow, the study claims, as the bulk of what’s been generated was immediately pegged for the state’s troubled pension system.

“We should be attracting businesses, and the progressive tax does just the opposite by giving these same politicians in Springfield even more power,” Wilhour said. “The bottom line is that if we don’t right-size our budget, you have a shrinking tax base and smaller population to cover it.”

With the state’s debt load rising almost as fast as its tax rates, Wilhour argues that it should be clear that more taxes is not the answer.

“You could take every dollar of every millionaire here in Illinois and put them all together, and it still wouldn’t touch our pension deficit,” he said. “If that doesn’t tell you we need reform, I don’t know what will.”

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Illinois State Representative Blaine Wilhour

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