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McSweeney: High Taxes Are Driving People Out of Illinois



McSweeneyheadshot (1)By State Rep. David McSweeney - 

If I have heard it once, I have it heard dozens and dozens of times. The conversation or correspondence usually goes something like this. “David, Illinois is a lost cause. We are putting our house up for sale and moving. We can’t afford to live in Illinois any longer.”

Some might argue that this is just anecdotal and not scientific, but the truth is the exodus from Illinois has become an alarming problem that can no longer be ignored. Last year, Illinois lost 33,703 residents and moved from the 5th largest state in the nation to the 6th largest state, behind Pennsylvania. Illinois has lost population the last four years in a row and has lost 643,000 residents net to other states since 2010.

What is even more alarming is that our leaders do not seem to be too concerned about the continued loss of people. We can no longer ignore the mass exodus from Illinois. It is time for the Legislature to take this issue seriously. 

To understand how to solve this problem, we need to understand the cause. People aren’t leaving Illinois because of the winter weather. They are leaving because their taxes are too high. The people I have talked to are tired of the high property taxes in Illinois and tired of the hostile business climate here. Many of the people leaving are business owners who are closing up shop and leaving Illinois.

A recent report from the American Economic Development Institute ranks Illinois the 49th worst state for doing business, ranking slightly above California. 

300 Below, Inc., a Decatur-based cryogenic company that has developed a technology to freeze steel for strengthening is looking to leave Illinois.  According to a recent media report, Prescott Paulin, owner of 300 Below, Inc, said, “The politics and the taxes make it nearly untenable for us to remain here." 

To keep businesses and job opportunities in Illinois, we must listen to what business owners are telling us. We must roll back the recent personal and corporate income tax increase approved last summer.  I have filed HB 4078 to repeal the 2017 tax increases.

We must lower property taxes. Illinois has the second highest property taxes in the nation. The high property taxes have an impact on both commercial and residential properties. One way to reduce property taxes is to find ways to reduce the nearly 7,000 units of local government in Illinois. The Land of Lincoln is the 6th largest state in the country, but the state is home to the highest number of local government bodies. This trend of losing population with no reduction in the number of local government bodies is not sustainable.  

One thing I am doing locally is working to give voters greater ability to reduce the number of units of local government in McHenry County. House Bill 4244 applies to 17 townships in McHenry County and allows voters to vote to eliminate these government bodies and transfer their responsibilities and assets to McHenry County officials. This legislation is at a least a start in terms of reducing the number of units of local government in Illinois. We have to start somewhere and I will continue to fight for legislation that gives citizens the power to consolidate or eliminate excessive local governments.

Finally, we must adopt pro-growth economic policies to attract businesses to Illinois. Surrounding states such as Missouri, Indiana and Wisconsin are aggressively trying to lure businesses out of Illinois. The pitch they make is a simple one; leave Illinois and come to a state that actually welcomes and appreciates businesses.

The numbers don’t lie. We are losing residents. The longer we ignore the trend of population loss, the worse the situation is going to become. What we need to do is to attract more jobs to the Land of Lincoln.  The only way we can jumpstart our economy is to lower taxes and enact business-friendly policies to keep current employers and attract new ones to our state.


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  1. Guys like McSweeney and Rauner always talk about tax cuts. But they never say what spending they would cut. State constitution requires a balanced budget and I have yet to see a balanced budget from McSweeney or anyone else explaining how they get there.
    If they won’t talk about cuts this is all just pie in the sky waste of time.

  2. The mass exodus & high taxes are just symptoms of the true problem in Illinois – corrupt Democrats & their machine and capitulating Republicans. These law makers don’t care about the exodus as long as they don’t loose their money & power with pay to play. And as long as those who pay continue to do so, nothing will change.
    Will reducing taxes help us, yes but it also allows the corruption to continue. I would not open or keep a business in Illinois due to the damage the Illinois legislature has and continues to do.
    Many of us worked to get a republican in the Governors seat only to find him just to be a bold faced liar. I’m done! I’m stuck here. I want our legislature to hit bottom so hard, those involved can never come back. Those lawmakers who are honest should just stay home when the next session starts. Don’t let the crash cover you with the same muck.

  3. Illinois politicians of both stripes are interested in two types of voters: the very rich and the very poor. If Illinois looks like Mad Max country beyond the gated communities, they don’t care. It IS about power and thieving every last cent for themselves and relatives and connected friends.
    Once you get past 45 years of age in IL, you know that you will not see any changes in the rest of your working and retired life. You have to leave to survive.
    If there is anybody who should be impeached and tried it is Mike Madigan. He will someday go down in history as the destroyer of a state.
    Like he gives a flying you know what.

  4. FYI, I bet if I tried to put this in Millers Capitolfax.com he would ban it!
    1980 11,426,518
    White 8.911 million
    Hispanic .635
    Black 1.66
    Asian .159
    2015 12,830,632
    White 7.15 million
    Hispanic 2.02
    Black 1.866
    Asian .861
    Population Increase 1.4 million
    White population decrease (1.76 million)
    Hispanic population increase 1.39 million
    Black increase 200,000
    Asian 694,000

  5. I ma here, simply to hold the hands of an elderly parent. ONce they are gone, we will bet totally gone. I already relocated my business to a welcoming Florida and maintain a home there. I took my employees with me, all of them earning on the low end of 6 figures. I told my children they were not allowed to live in IL,so they do not, they are in IN and WI respectively. So gone are their dual household incomes in the 250K range. as i mentioned my business is gone. along with that went my expansion plans.
    But it isn’t just the business climate, it is the injustice. Even if we could afford the lavish pensions and healthcare we bestow on government employees I would not want to pay them, they are unreasonable and it simply is not just.
    In fact that is the trouble with IL, there is not justice in this state for a honest man or woman. you are forced to pay for abortion, forced to support illegal aliens, forced into paying for welfare, are stripped of your first and second amendment rights, forced to serve queers, forced to hire degenerates, forced to rent to degenerates, and are humiliated by having the sanctity of your marriage equated to the unnatural affection of two perverts buggering each other. Where in Illinois are the rights for the decent people? There are no such rights. In Illinois the decent and hard working are preyed upon by government employees and various other degenerates.
    Even if they were to solve the fiscal problems, who other than sodomites, perverts, criminals, or third world welfare tarts would actually want to move here?
    That is why Illinois is done for, in terms of the decent and hard working.