Illinoisans are not just voting at the ballot box. They are also voting with their feet.
And increasingly those feet are marching out of the Land of Lincoln to states with more favorable taxes, says Travis H. Brown, a St. Louis author who spoke this week to Illinois lawmakers.
“Illinois has lost $29 billion to the places that you might expect, like Wisconsin, Indiana and neighbors, but a third of that has been lost to places well outside the region - Florida and Texas, two states that have no personal income tax whatsoever,” he said in a subsequent interview with Illinois News Network.
Brown used 18 years of Internal Revenue Service data to track migration patterns across the nation in his book, How Money Walks. He said his research shows that people and businesses are consistently moving from high-tax states to lower-tax states.
And Illinois is one of those states losing population. But not everyone is buying into this argument.
“I think there are a lot of reasons why people move,” said Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline. “The Iowa Quad-Cities has grown much faster than the Illinois Quad-Cities, but Iowa has a higher income tax than Illinois. So I don’t think it’s as simple as pointing to one thing like taxes. And weather has to be a major factor in where people decide to live.”
Brown called the Quad-Cities a local anomaly and noted that Iowa is also a high-tax state that is also losing people.
“What’s great is we are moving past anecdote and opinion, is that we have hardcore evidence based on what all taxpayers who have reported some kind of income on their state 1040 tax returns in the last 18 years,” Brown said. “So this is a really long data set – 134 million taxpayer records – an actual show of movement over 43 million Americans.”
State Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, echoed Brown’s sentiment.
“There is no doubt in my mind that tax policy determines where businesses and individuals end up in today’s easily traveled America,” he said. “Taxes do matter.”
He added, “We need to do everything we can to keep our productive businesses and people right here in the Land of Lincoln. We have to have a tax system in Illinois that is fair. From an individual standpoint, we certainly can’t be driving the wealthiest individuals from Illinois. … We ought to get rid of the inheritance tax. We ought to do everything we can to encourage people to retire in Illinois.”
Dillard is one of four candidates seeking the Republican nomination for governor.
Brown’s talk with lawmakers was sponsored by the Illinois Policy Institute, the parent organization of Illinois News Network.
Candidate Proposes Tax Exemption for Diapers
Not to raise a stink, but State Sen. Mike Frerichs’ legislation that would end the sales tax on diapers just doesn’t pass the smell test. It reeks of political brown-nosing – rather than true tax reform.
The candidate for state treasurer gives us a host of medical evidence for why dirty diapers are bad. Who would have guessed it? They cause diaper rash. And gosh, what kind of parent leaves a child sitting in a dirty diaper?
Yes, I’ll admit, it felt like a pay raise when all my kids were finally potty trained and our Labrador retriever was no longer sniffing around the diaper bin. That said, picking and choosing what deserves to be taxed and what doesn’t is not the route to go.
Just consider: Pampers cost $37.49 for a package of 104. Eliminating the state sales tax would save a parent about $2.34.
That’s hardly enough to leave the taxpayers – or their young progeny – cooing with delight. Could it be that the good senator is, um, a little behind?
Instead of targeting one product for a sales tax exemption, how about lowering sales taxes across the board?
That’s an idea that shouldn’t leave anyone crying.