The Illinois Policy Institute released this paper today.
If you are from Illinois, this is quite alarming.
Even if you are not from Illinois, this is a real wake-up call. The anti-growth, big government policies persued for decades in Illinois that have led to this decline are what President Obama is pursuing for the rest of the nation. Think about that come November.
Last night I went on WGN-CLTV's Politics Tonight to discuss ObamaCare.
Host Paul Lisnek brought up an interesting question: isn’t calling the recent federal health care bill “ObamaCare” partisan or, as Jon Stewart once asked me, offensive?
I don't believe it is partisan at all.
For one, ObamaCare is simply what most people call this law. Most people don’t know it by “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” Calling it that or some version of that, like “the Affordable Health Care Act” as Jim did isn’t a balanced clarification, it is premeditated rebranding. Most citizens and most pundits call it ObamaCare. Calling it by its technical name is confusing for viewers, plain and simple.
Case in point from the other side of the aisle: when you think of the tax cuts that first came from the last guy in the White House, what do you hear pundits calling it – on both sides of the aisle? The Bush tax cuts. Nobody calls them by their official legislative name. I should say names, as they were codified in two separate bills during Bush’s tenure: the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003. That’s a mouthful.
Second, the technical name is ridiculous. Like many bills and laws – Republican or Democrat – this law’s name doesn’t accurately reflect what it does. Why talk about bills or laws on the terms Beltway wordsmiths set? ObamaCare doesn’t protect patients or make health care more affordable. It does just the opposite.
Perhaps most importantly, if this bill is so great and this president is so proud of how great it is, why wouldn’t the president, his supporters, and supporters of this bill want to call it ObamaCare?
Last night I went on Fox Chicago to debate the debt ceiling issue.
My last comments that were cut from the segment were:
1) Obama isn't sticking to his guns - we don't know what they are as he simply assigns blame and doesn't have a plan of his own.
2) Democrat or Republican, if you're a lawmaker and serious about getting this country back on a fiscally responsible path, taxpayers deserve a guarantee of serious structural spending reform in exchange for raising the debt ceiling.
Our nation - like Illinois - doesn't have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem that got us to this very high ceiling in the first place.
If your teenager taps out the credit card limit at $20,000, you don’t just call up American Express and ask for a raise in the limit without engaging in serious conversation where you assess past spending habits (what’s necessary, what was excessive, what’s possible in the future within a certain budget) and secure a guarantee of change in behavior for more responsible prioritization and spending in the future.
That isn’t partisanship, which is all too common in Washington and state capitals across the country. It is common sense and it is in short supply in this debate.
Three raises in a year?! My colleague Kristina Rasmussen at the Illinois Policy Institute went on Fox Business to discuss the IL government union's latest out of touch request of the financially strained taxpayers that support them. Take a look:
I appeared on ABC-Chicago last night to discuss the moral hazard of state bribes and some other failed “investments” the state of Illinois has made in the name of job creation.
A number of companies have threatened to leave Illinois for more business-friendly states. Unfortunately, this all too often makes good business sense given that Illinois is ranked 48th in economic performance and 47th in economic outlook according to a recent ALEC-Laffer study.
Just recently, Chief Executive magazine ranked Illinois as being the third worst place to do business in the U.S. From the report:
"Illinois has dropped 40 places in five years and is now in a death spiral. Its bond ranking is 49th, ahead of only California. The state may play host to fugitive state senators from nearby Wisconsin and Indiana who avoid voting in their home legislatures, but businesses are heading for the exits."
Many of the companies threatening to leave have run to Governor Pat Quinn for special tax treatment as an incentive to stay. Quinn recently signed an enormous tax "incentive" deal to keep Motorola in Illinois.
The latest in this trend is Sears whose current tax breaks are set run out in 2012. They are looking at possibly moving to Georgia or North Carolina. Governor Quinn says he’s got a good “friendship” with the folks at Sears and wants to do what he can to keep them in Illinois.
If Governor Quinn is serious about doing what he can to retain businesses, he should work with lawmakers to lower the overall regulatory and tax burden on job creators in Illinois. Unfortunately, he did just the opposite of that in January when he signed the biggest tax hike in our state’s history, increasing the corporate income tax by 46 percent and the personal rate by 67 percent.
Ironically, Quinn's recent habit of giving special treatment to certain corporations is an implicit admission that his propensity to tax and regulate and refusal to trim government is further pushing Illinois into an economic death spiral.
While it is completely rational for companies to seek the best deal they can get, this isn’t good public policy. Instead of giving special treatment to companies with the most clout, Quinn and lawmakers in Springfield should focus on reducing the tax burden for all companies – big and small – not just the ones that are friendly with Governor Quinn.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan recently issued an edict to State Police to release to the Associated Press all Firearm Owner Identification Card (FOID) holders. Why the AP feels they need this information or why Attorney General Madigan believes she can decree it be done is beyond me.
For one, this is a major civil rights violation. Law-abiding citizens don't owe it to their neighbors or to the media to disclose their given religion or membership in a civic organization. Turning another basic right upheld by the Constitution - firearm ownership - into something akin to a sex offender registry is simply bizarre. Oddly, this decree wouldn't for certain allow people to determine firearm ownership, merely holders of Firearm Owner Identification Cards who theoretically can purchase firearms in Illinois. Not all FOID holders own guns. They may have one in case they ever want to buy a firearm, go shooting for sport with a rental, or what have you. I have a few friends in this category.
Secondly, this is an all-around imprudent idea, to put it mildly. I saw this photograph of a sign a while ago making the rounds on the internet. It read something along the lines of: "My neighbor wants to ban all guns. That house is not armed" with a big red arrow pointing next door. This makes for a funny and commentary on gun rights. It certainly isn't a good policy for the government to decree.
But that's exactly what Attorney General Madigan wants to do. This release of names would say to criminals "here are the houses where you can steal a gun from when they aren't home and here are the houses to rob with your new gun without worrying if they are armed!"
More from my colleague Lee Williams here.
Yesterday, the Illinois Policy Institute released a tax migration study detailing what many have known for a long time: due to decades of bad public policy, Illinois is driving out taxpayers and businesses at an alarming rate.
From the report:
Migration between the U.S. states is the ultimate expression of “voting with your feet.” People move for many reasons, but, when examined en masse, it’s clear that public policy significantly influences where people choose to live.
Some of the findings of the report include:
- Illinois lost a net of 1,227,347 residents to other states between 1991 and 2009, or slightly more than one resident (1.22) every 10 minutes.
- The top states that people from Illinois move to are Florida, Indiana, Wisconsin, Arizona and Texas.
- Illinois lost 86,021 taxpayers between 1995-2007 to its border states: Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Kentucky. This represents $4.1 billion in lost Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and $26.8 billion in cumulative AGI loss.
- Illinois lost people and taxpayers to 40 states and the District of Columbia, and Illinois lost net income to 42 states and the District of Columbia.
Click here for the full report.
Last night, I watched from the gallery in Springfield as Illinois House members decided to pass a 67% income tax increase.
Wrap-up from John Tillman at the Illinois Policy Institute:
On the same day the General Assembly abolished the death penalty for capital crimes in Illinois, lawmakers also implemented the death penalty on Illinois’s economy and taxpayers by passing a 67 percent income tax hike in the face of overwhelming public opposition.
It was a spirited debate with both Democrats and Republicans in the House gave rousing speeches against it. Unfortunately, it passed by the narrowest margin and was sent to the Senate where it passed at 1:20am or so the final day of the lame duck session.
This will only accelerate the mass exodus of taxpayers and employers from Illinois to surrounding states like Wisconsin and Indiana. (See comments from each state's ecstatic governors.) Even Mayor Daley is on record as predicting this will cause (even more) employers to pick up and leave.
As I note in the video below, this hike effectively abolishes the benefits of the recent ax cut extension even President Obama had the wisdom to keep in place. For most taxpayers, their total tax burden will increase significantly.
If you are an Illinois resident or are considering becoming one, take a look at the Illinois Policy Institute's tax hike calculator here.
It is just brutal, there is no other way to describe it. This increase will accelerate the economic death spiral this state is in. It is particularly damaging to the poor and disadvantaged in Illinois already struggling to make ends meet as legislators in Springfield confiscate and spend their money like it's going out of style.
My latest piece at The Daily Caller on the Illinois tax hike fight:
As if Illinois weren’t already steadily chasing businesses and citizens away with policies of economic destruction, Illinois lawmakers are poised to raise taxes by as much as 75%, effectively wiping out the benefits of Obama’s recent extension of the Bush tax cuts for citizens of his home state.
...If you live in Illinois or know someone who does, here is the website for finding one’s legislator. They plan to be back in the office tomorrow afternoon to vote on this. They need to hear from constituents that even President Obama got the hint: a tax hike in a recession is poisonous public policy.
Read the full story here.
Great piece by my colleague Kristina Rasmussen on the sharp contrast between reformers like Governor Chris Christie in New Jersey and the status quo, kick the can down the road crowd like Governor Quinn in Illinois:
Imagine this. You're governor. You have a multi-billion-dollar budget deficit. One of out every four general fund dollars is spent on labor costs. What do you do?
a) Follow the lead of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and insist that public employee unions make modest concessions to balance the budget.
b) Act like Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and roll over to outrageous union demands.
More at the Illinois Policy Institute's blog here.