The Incredible Shrinking Illinois: High Taxes And Low Economic Freedom Have Led To State Crisis

Authored by Dean Stansel and Orphe Divounguy via The Daily Caller,

Illinois has been losing population for four years. The state’s out-migration crisis is so bad that Illinois has dropped from the fifth-largest to the sixth-largest state, falling behind Pennsylvania. Since 2010, the Land of Lincoln lost a whopping 640,000 people on net to out-migration. The state is shrinking so rapidly that it’s at risk of losing a House seat.

Illinois’s people problem is nothing to shrug off, because it indicates the state economy is on pace to continue its decline. And if nothing changes, people will just keep leaving.

So what’s wrong with Illinois?

Terrible economic policies.

Illinois ranks near the bottom in terms of economic freedom compared with the rest of the country, according to the Fraser Institute’s recent Economic Freedom of North America, or EFNA, report, released in partnership with the Illinois Policy Institute. This report ranks states based on an index of 10 variables related to government spending, taxes and labor market freedom. Only 12 states were ranked lower. Unsurprisingly, blue states California and New York ranked at the bottom of the economic freedom list.

Pennsylvania, which just overtook Illinois as the fifth-largest state in the U.S., ranks 18th on the index of economic freedom, compared with Illinois’ 35th place ranking.

While Illinois continues to shrink, states that rank near the top of the Fraser Institute’s economic freedom rankings are growing. Since the last recession ended in 2009, population in the 10 most-free states has grown 2.5 times faster than it has in the 10 least-free states. Employment and income have also grown faster in the freer states.

So why are economically free states growing while states such as Illinois are losing residents? One reason is that high levels of taxes, spending and regulation make it harder for entrepreneurs to succeed. When businesses can’t expand and hire new workers, it hurts everyone. Illinois’ lack of opportunity pushed nearly 100,000 people to drop out of the workforce in 2017 alone.

States that have seen the fastest economic growth, such as Texas and Florida, tend to have a common focus in their economic policies: low taxes (including low or no income taxes), a fiscally responsible approach to spending and a common-sense approach to regulation that makes it easier for entrepreneurs to be successful.

States that take the opposite approach, such as New York, California and Illinois, tend to see much less economic prosperity and many more moving trucks leaving the state for greener pastures.

If politicians in Illinois want their state’s residents to thrive, the path is clear. The first step: reduce the tax burden. Among its neighboring states, Illinoisans pay the largest share of their income in federal and state income and property taxes. Reducing property taxes should be a high priority – this tax costs many families more each year than their mortgage.

But to give Illinoisans the relief they need, the state of Illinois also needs to rein in the growth of spending. One place to start is the salaries and benefits of its state workers. In 2016, state government workers in Illinois earned 59 percent more than private sector workers on average. Illinois state workers are the highest paid in the nation, when adjusted for cost-of-living. One reason? Illinois gives government unions tremendous negotiating power, which drives up the cost of government.

Reducing excessive regulations would also help entrepreneurs be more successful, allowing them to in turn expand their businesses and hire more workers, rather than leaving the state or shrinking payrolls and laying off workers. Illinois lost a record $4.75 billion in adjusted gross income to other states in the 2015 tax year, up from $3.4 billion in the prior year. To stem the tide, Illinois needs to make major changes soon.

Taking the steps necessary to rank higher on measures of economic policies, such as the EFNA, is a winning strategy for states like Illinois. Increasing economic freedom means more prosperity, which means more jobs and more opportunity for Illinoisans.


Baron von Bud Wed, 01/24/2018 - 10:56 Permalink

Just imagine what's about to happen to California. Illegals, bums, moochers and the state expects business to pay higher taxes to support this craziness? Good luck.

Honest Sam Wed, 01/24/2018 - 10:58 Permalink

The consequence of interminable Democratic Regime begun with Mayor Daley.  

It's too late for Illinois.  The corruption is like that in an old boat left to dry rot in a boat yard for nearly a century.

Move if you can. And don't relo there if you can avoid it. 


Hail Spode Wed, 01/24/2018 - 10:59 Permalink

Localism works, even when it can only operate a little. Just think how much faster things could improve if all seven pillars were implemented. Government officials would be in a race to provide more freedom, not because of their innate goodness, but out of self-interest to keep people from moving to the next county over where they are treated better.

Eventually the people of IL. will figure this out and vote for people who will provide freedom- unless of course the central government bails them out. And that is the problem. When central government makes bad policies there is no place for the common man to run. When local government makes bad policies the "opportunity costs" of escaping its reach or changing it is much lower- within reach of the average person. This is why almost all decisions should be made locally, even if it means people I have never met in a city I have never lived in are doing things that I would not approve of.

The blueprint for localism as a philosophy of government...

werker Wed, 01/24/2018 - 11:01 Permalink

If the Smithsonian would just tell the truth,.... perhaps Illinois would stand a chance. Crime is your curse, you committed it first.   NO ONE deserves the lies of either the mayor or the museum.  You'll figure this out soon enough.

3-fingered_chemist Wed, 01/24/2018 - 11:01 Permalink

If they couldn't access the bond markets, most of these states (IL for example) would have to divert 50 % or more of their tax revenue to pay pensions. 

If you like your potholes, you can keep your potholes.

3-fingered_chemist Countrybunkererd Wed, 01/24/2018 - 13:08 Permalink

Compounds that have fluorine in them are pretty harmless. It's the methods to introduce fluorine into other compounds that cause problems since that generally involves generation of F2, which is where the hazards come in. I've had my fair share of incidents. Would have blown off my hand in one case if I was holding the flask at the bottom instead of the neck. Most of my dangerous work was when I was working with boron hydrides which tend to be more pyrophoric not explosive though. Now I work with explosives, lol.   

In reply to by Countrybunkererd

3-fingered_chemist DaveA Wed, 01/24/2018 - 13:03 Permalink

Yes, I agree with that. If you move out of state, they should add a tax to those pensions. I don't think they will ever renege on the pensions, but they will just tax them until the pensioners are blue in the face (no pun intended). Here is your 100k pension, and the tax rate is 60 %. State basically keeps the money. Maybe a discount if you still live in the state.


In reply to by DaveA

Consuelo Wed, 01/24/2018 - 11:02 Permalink



So when everyone leaves, who is left...?


The plantation occupants, and their slave trade political masters.   Just like it's been for centuries...    There is simply no longer a Goyim host for the parasites to extract from...

Mike Masr Wed, 01/24/2018 - 11:03 Permalink

I just moved from Chicago to rural Michigan and I love it here!! 

Crime stats in my area 2017: 4 domestic disturbance, 2 check kiting.

Population: 4,600 people.

Population demographic: 98% white, 1% native American, 1% hispanic

Politics: 95% Republican 

My property taxes 3,000 sq ft home 3/4 acre lot. $1,200 a year.

Beautiful home built in 1962 is fully remodeled with a 45 x 35 ft deck.

Cost was 1/4 what it would be in Chicago area.  


Mike Masr Dead Indiana Sky Wed, 01/24/2018 - 11:49 Permalink

It will be good to have you here. Traffic is non existent, after 10PM all traffic lights flash orange. The air is fresh and clean. At night it's very quiet and the sky is black with a billion stars. We are used to non stop 24/7 police and fire sirens in Chicago and only seeing the moon at night. Good shopping and even some very good restaurants within a 10 minute drive. People are friendly, patriotic and honor veterans. The local teenagers call me "sir" and say, "yes sir" to me. Mostly everyone I know here attends church services on Sunday as do I.

We moved from the Logan Square area of Chicago's NW side.  

My wife and I liken our new home to Andy Griffith's Mayberry. We love it and would never move back to Chicago! 

In reply to by Dead Indiana Sky

Mike Masr Mike Masr Wed, 01/24/2018 - 14:16 Permalink

Final note: I love Chicago. A lot of truly wonderful people live here. I love the restaurants, the Cubs and the Bears. Crime has increased. The MLD runs the northwest side now. They are beating and robbing people coming home late or leaving early for work. Home invasions when everyone's at work is common now. A neighbor on his way to work was beaten senseless for $40 bucks in his wallet by 3 MLD thugs at 5AM on a weekday. The taxes are sickening. Parking is an outrage, too expensive. The air quality sucks. I ran into a store on Clark Street, gone 3 minutes and had a $100 ticket on my car for being too close to the bus stop. In one year my vehicle was vandalized and the catalytic converter was stolen twice. Last but not least 90% of people in Chicago are liberals that vote into office Democrat sanctuary city assholes like Rahm Emanual.   

I don't have to think about any of this shit anymore living in rural Michigan my new home!   

In reply to by Mike Masr

Snout the First MasterControl Wed, 01/24/2018 - 11:18 Permalink

You just hit the nail on the head. We all understand why people want to leave shit holes for a better life elsewhere. But what the refugees never seem to understand is that the land they are leaving is a shit hole for a reason. Their failed culture in the case of Mexico or the Islamic countries, or socialist policies in the case of Illinois or New York. So when the swarm of locusts reach their new location, they bring their failed culture or failed economic policies with them, and proceed to transform their new land into the same shit hole they fled from.

In reply to by MasterControl

markitect Wed, 01/24/2018 - 11:08 Permalink

Typical ZH bullshit.  The state has lost less than 1% of the population.  Conn, NJ, NY are seeing the same thing - retiring baby boomers with the means to move south are doing it at a rapid rate after being delayed during the recession.  But since this is Zero Hedge the article must be written to pander to gold hoarding retards hiding from jews in their bug out cabins.  

11b40 liverdiefree Wed, 01/24/2018 - 11:32 Permalink

What % of the U.S. Congress?  The answer is roughly 22%

What % of Trumps cabinet?  What % of the Federal Reserve managing team, and that of the member banks?  What % of the News & Entertainment business?  What % of the upper echelons of the MIC/Defense Contractors?  What % of the Supreme Court?


Starting to get it now?

In reply to by liverdiefree