My beloved State of Illinois is a shining example of what not to do if a state wishes to be prosperous, cursed as it is with probably the worst state government in the Union. George Will sums up the state of my State in a column this week:
After trying to tax Illinois to governmental solvency and economic dynamism, Pat Quinn, a Democrat who has been governor since 2009, now says “our rendezvous with reality has arrived.”
Actually, Illinois is still reality-averse, so Americans may soon learn the importance of the freedom to fail in a system of competitive federalism.
Illinois was more heavily taxed than its five contiguous states (Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin) even before January 2011, when Quinn got a lame duck Legislature (its successor has fewer Democrats) to raise corporate taxes 30% (from 7.3% to 9.5%), giving Illinois one of the highest state corporate taxes, and the fourth-highest combination of national and local corporate taxation in the industrialized world.
Since 2009, Quinn has spent more than $500 million in corporate welfare to bribe companies not to flee the tax environment he has created.
Quinn raised personal income taxes 67% (from 3% to 5%), adding about $1,040 to the tax burden of a family of four earning $60,000. Illinois’ unemployment rate increased faster than any other state’s in 2011.
Its pension system is the nation’s most underfunded, and the state has floated bond issues to finance pension contributions — borrowing money that someday must be repaid, to replace what should have been pension money it spent on immediate gratifications.
Go here to read the depressing rest. Illinois is now rated A2 by Moody’s, the lowest credit rating of any state. When it lowered Illinois’ bond rating Moody’s made the following observation:
Illinois’ general obligation bond rating was lowered to A2 from A1 on January 6 because of the state’s failure last year to implement solutions to its largest credit challenges: severe pension under-funding and chronic bill-payment delays. It remains to be seen whether the state has the political will to impose new pension reforms and other measures that restore fiscal strength in the near term.
Not a chance. No serious reforms will be undertaken until State payroll checks begin to bounce. Illinois has the worst, most feckless political class in the country. Louis XV, he of apres moi le deluge, was a dedicated reformer compared to the idiots, crooks and empty suits who misgovern the Land of Lincoln.