Rep. McSweeney: New budget will cause more people to leave Illinois

Rep. McSweeney: New budget will cause more people to leave Illinois

June 6, 2018

Northwest Herald

Illinois is a great state with a great history. Two of the finest U.S. presidents of all time – Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan – have deep connections to our state.

Illinois is indeed home to some of the best minds and greatest innovations of all time.

The world’s first skyscraper was built in Chicago. Our state has a history of being a leader in forward thinking as Illinois was the first state in the nation to adopt the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery. As great as Illinois is, our tax policies and economic policies are doing tremendous damage to our state.

Last year, Illinois lost 33,703 residents and moved from the fifth-largest state in the nation to the sixth-largest state behind Pennsylvania. Illinois is also likely to lose two Congressional seats after the next census.

The main reason people are moving out of our state is taxes. Illinois has the second highest property taxes in the nation. Illinois also has 7,000 units of local government – the most of all 50 states. All of these units of local government must be funded. A little bit of money here and there eventually adds up to real money. According to a recent report from WalletHub, Illinois has the highest combination of state and local taxes in the country. Not every tax in Illinois is the highest compared with other states, but when all these different taxes are combined, Illinois residents are paying the highest combination of state and local taxes in the nation.

The Madigan budget that Gov. Bruce Rauner just signed into law does nothing but double down on the policies that are ruining our state. The budget includes the revenues from the 32 percent increase in your state income tax rate.

The fiscal 2019 budget does very little to solve the long-term problems of the state. There is no meaningful pension reform, which means the $250 billion pension hole is only going to get bigger under this new budget. The budget also fails to offer a plan to pay down the backlog of unpaid bills, which is only going to get worse under this new budget.

The longer we wait, the more difficult these problems will be to solve. The budget the governor just signed into law does nothing to dig Illinois out of the current financial hole facing our state. There are no structural reforms to get our economy going. There are no property tax and other tax reforms associated with the budget to stop the exodus from Illinois. It is a budget simply for the sake of having a budget. What Illinois needs is not a feel-good moment that we finally have a budget, but rather a comprehensive budget that addresses pensions, Medicaid and the high taxes in Illinois.

Anything short of that is just more of the same. All this budget does is put into writing the chaos that is wrecking our state and driving people out of the Land of Lincoln. What Illinois needs is real leadership – not more of the same.

​• David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, is the state representative for the 52nd District.

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