Illinois Policy Institute

Illinois Policy Institute: ‘Illinois Is Exporting Its Higher-Income Earners’

From time to time, I’ll talk about the Illinois Policy Institute, a Chicago-based non-partisan research organization that works “to make Illinois first in economic outlook and job creation.” The last time I blogged about the Institute, they had just released a report about Illinois having the most units of local government of any state in the country.

I happened to stop by their website the other day and something disturbing caught my eye. On March 27, Michael Lucci, the Institute’s Director of Jobs and Growth, talked about the state’s tax structure driving away businesses. He wrote:

There’s no telling how many businesses have left or expanded elsewhere over the years.

Caterpillar Inc. announced this week that it will expand in Georgia, AM manufacturing is leaving for Indiana and OfficeMax Inc. famously decided on Florida over Illinois.

That’s exactly what millions of people are doing. On net, 1.25 million more people have left Illinois than entered since 1985. Not only that: The average taxpayer who leaves Illinois earns $65,400. The average taxpayer who enters Illinois earns $56,700.

It’s clear what is happening. Illinois is exporting its higher-income earners, who are also job creators and investors…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity shouldn’t be too surprised at these findings.

Back on January 9, I talked about a press release associated with United Van Lines’ 37th Annual Migration Study, which found Illinois was the number two outbound state for a second year in a row in 2013.

And on February 27, I discussed a February 14 Crain’s Chicago Business piece that said Cook County lost about 13,000 residents with six-figure household incomes to other places during the Great Recession.

Regrettably, the politicians and their mouthpieces will keep peddling the spin about how individuals and businesses are tripping over themselves to move into the state. Meanwhile, the exodus from the “Land of Lincoln” will likely continue for the foreseeable future.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Lucci, Michael. “Illinois’ recipe for exodus: 7 different tax structures proposed for 2015.” Illinois Policy Institute. 27 Mar. 2014. (http://www.illinoispolicy.org/illinois-recipe-for-exodus-7-different-tax-structures-proposed-for-2015/?utm_source=outbrain). 17 Apr. 2014.

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Study: Illinois Government Bloated With 6,963 Local Governing Bodies

Any Illinois readers think there’s way too much government out there these days?

Based on findings from a recent analysis by a Chicago-based non-partisan research organization that works “to make Illinois first in economic outlook and job creation,” the “Land of Lincoln” is the “Land of Too Much Government.”

From the Illinois Policy Institute’s November 2013 research report entitled, “Too much government: Illinois’ thousands of local government”:

Illinois has the most units of local government of any state in the country. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, with 6,963 local governments, Illinois beats its nearest competitor by more than 1,800. Texas is No. 2 with 5,147 local governments.

The average Illinoisan resides in an area that has at least six layers of local government including county, township, municipality, both a primary and secondary level school district, and a community college district.

It is also quite common to have additional layers of government such as libraries, park districts, forest preserves, fire protection, sanitation, transportation and even mosquito abatement districts. These special districts add unnecessary layers of local government and bureaucracy, leading to expensive duplication of public services.

The result is higher costs for Illinoisans. Local government is primarily financed through local property taxes, and Illinois’ high number of governments contributes to the state having the second-highest property tax rates in the nation.

Multiple layers of government also make it harder for citizens to actively participate in the democratic process, which can lead to public corruption. Illinois is the third-most corrupt state in the country.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

An insightful study for Illinoisans, which can be found on the Illinois Policy Institute’s website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Thursday, December 5th, 2013 Corruption, Government, Taxes No Comments

Illinois’ Total Unfunded Liabilities: $275 Billion

The following bit about Illinois’ total unfunded liabilities from a January 28 Investor’s Business Daily editorial was so depressing to read that I originally planned to blog about it much earlier this morning- but needed to step away. From the IBD website:

A recent release by the Illinois Policy Institute shows this [$96.8 billion unfunded debt to five state pension systems] is only the tip of the iceberg and when you add in other liabilities such as $54 billion in unfunded liabilities for retiree health insurance and $15 billion in pension bonds that Gov. Pat Quinn and his immediate predecessor, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, issued to avoid pension reform, Illinois’ total unfunded liabilities amount to $275 billion, or $58,000 in debt for each and every household in the state.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

So what’s it going to be, Illinois? Since a booming economy seems unlikely to return anytime soon, will the Democrat-dominated Illinois General Assembly finally enact significant spending cuts? Raise fees and taxes through the roof? Throw public sector retirees “under the bus?”

They’re going to have to do something real quick.

Or watch the whole thing unravel.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

“Obama’s Illinois Downgrade Makes It America’s Greece.” Investor’s Business Daily. 28 Jan. 2013. (http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/012813-642237-credit-downgrade-illinois-standard-poors-worst.htm). 31 Jan. 2013.

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Motorola CEO: Illinois ‘Asleep At The Switch, And The Day Of Reckoning Will Come’

You know the state of Illinois has real fiscal challenges when a member of the U.S. President’s Management Advisory Board (PMAB) says that’s the case. Greg Brown, President and CEO of Schaumburg-based Motorola Solutions, spoke to Crain’s Chicago Business last week and said the following about his company’s relationship to the Midwestern state:

Illinois remains front and center for us for a variety of reasons: incumbency, skills that are resident, our existing footprint. It’s Illinois’ to lose, but Illinois is on a path to lose it. The state of Illinois is asleep at the switch, and the day of reckoning will come. You can’t have the state’s fiscal house being what it is and be able to attract capital. If Illinois kicks the can and stays in a four-corner offense, then capital will move out of state, including ours. I’ve had governors of Florida and Michigan proactively call me and say: “Would you consider moving a division, opening a plant? Would you consider moving R&D here? Would you deploy a sales division here?” Illinois doesn’t think like that. It needs a complete overhaul. It needs to happen soon.

Judging by the continued inaction in Springfield (seat of Illinois government) on issues of significant fiscal importance to the state and its 12.9 million residents, something tells me that can will keep being kicked down the road until the “day of reckoning” Brown talked about finally arrives.

In the meantime, the State of Illinois continues to languish.

Consider what Ted Dabrowski, Vice President of Policy at the Illinois Policy Institute, wrote back on November 28 on the organization’s website:

Today, Illinois still has more than $9 billion in unpaid bills. The Legislature continues to run structural deficits, appropriating more funds than the revenues it receives. The state’s pension systems are more than $200 billion in the hole and facing insolvency. And the state has been downgraded 10 times by the three major rating agencies since Gov. Quinn took office.

I am truly concerned about what lies in store for the “Land of Lincoln” going forward.

Sources:

Pletz, John. “Motorola’s CEO on taxes, tablets and why Illinois is dying.” Crain’s Chicago Business. 24 Dec. 2012. (http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20121222/ISSUE01/312229987/motorolas-ceo-on-taxes-tablets-and-why-illinois-is-dying). 26 Dec. 2012.

Dabrowski, Ted. “Forget reform: Illinois legislators want to borrow $4 billion.” Illinois Policy Institute. 28 Nov. 2012. (http://illinoispolicy.org/blog/blog.asp?ArticleSource=5283). 26 Dec. 2012.

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Financial Woes Keep Growing For Chicago, Cook County, And Illinois

Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois- a trifecta of serious financial concerns.

Hal Dardick talked about all three entities and their growing pension problems early this morning on the Chicago Tribune website:

Cook County’s pension fund will go broke in 26 years without changes that could include an increase in employee contributions and later retirement ages, according to a new analysis.

The report, done under the direction of county Commissioner Bridget Gainer in her role as chairwoman of the board’s pension-oversight panel, shows that it’s not just state and city pension funds that have perilous futures.

Even if the county fund generally is in better shape, Gainer said, that doesn’t mean the county can continue to ignore a funding gap that had grown to $5.2 billion by the end of 2010. That’s seven times the size it was a decade earlier

The effort comes as Mayor Rahm Emanuel is highlighting even more dire problems for city pension funds, in part by launching his own website with a real-time tally of the city’s pension funding gap of more than $25 billion.

Gov. Pat Quinn, meanwhile, awaits a report from a pension reform panel. The state’s pension gap is about $80 billion.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Make that $83 billion, according to a different Tribune piece from Sunday. From the “Edtorials” on April 8:

The state of Illinois admits to $83 billion in pension underfunding, a staggering weight on today’s and tomorrow’s taxpayers. Add to that the as yet uncalculated billions in unfunded pension obligations for city, county and other local governments…

The Illinois Policy Institute, a right-leaning think tank, now is releasing 133 pages of frightening data — we obtained a copy Thursday — that project yet another devastating hit to taxpayers: Beyond that $83 billion in unfunded pensions, state government alone faces an unfunded liability of more than $54 billion in retiree health liabilities over the next 30 years.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Tribune staff doesn’t think the “Land of Lincoln” is well-prepared to take on this newly-publicized obligation. From the editorial:

We’ve noted before that many states similarly fund unaffordably generous retiree health benefits on a pay-as-you-go basis. But those states don’t rank worst in the nation in their preparedness to meet pension obligations. Nor do most of those states expect to finish this fiscal year with a budget deficit and a malingering $9 billion in unpaid bills. As a result, then, most states are better prepared to meet these retiree health costs than is the insolvent state of Illinois.

By the last of the IPI’s 133 pages, we conjured one question, then a follow-up:

How could Illinois pols do this to taxpayers?

And come November, will voters finally exact some consequences?

Answer #1- I don’t know. Perhaps because many “pols” put themselves/families/friends/special interests first, before the interests of the entire state of Illinois?

Maybe the question that really needs to be asked is, “How could Illinois taxpayers be so stupid as to let the pols get away with it?”

Answer #2: It’s hard to envision much of anything changing. Why’s that? As the Chicago Tribune’s Monique Garcia, Alissa Groeninger, and Ray Long noted back on March 20:

Even before unofficial results rolled in, some sitting Republican lawmakers were bound to lose in DuPage County, casualties of the Democratic-drawn state legislative districts. The map is tilted so heavily toward Democrats that the party led by House Speaker Michael Madigan, the Illinois Democratic chairman, is all but ensured November general election victories that could set it on a course to control the General Assembly for the next decade.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Even Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel realizes what “business as usual” could very well mean for these locations. From the editorial:

During a Tribune forum Wednesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel explained how that overhang — some estimates run far higher — deters businesses from locating in Chicago: Companies don’t want to buy shares in a phenomenal tax burden that will unfold over decades.

And neither do current residents. The financial health of Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois needs to improve drastically and fast- or many of those who can leave, will.

Sources:

Dardick, Hal. “Cook County also faces pension funding gap, new analysis says.” Chicago Tribune. 9 Apr. 2012. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-cook-county-pensions-0409-20120409,0,5440594.story). 9 Apr. 2012.

“Surprise! You owe another $54 billion.” Chicago Tribune. 8 Apr. 2012. (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-04-08/news/ct-edit-health-20120408_1_retiree-health-pension-reforms-pension-underfunding). 9 Apr. 2012.

Garcia, Monique, Groeninger, Alissa and Ray Long. “Indicted state lawmaker cruises to primary victory.” Chicago Tribune. 20 Mar. 2012. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/clout/chi-state-lawmaker-charged-with-bribery-cruising-to-primary-victory-20120320,0,1719356.story). 9 Apr. 2012.

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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