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.
Well, it wasn’t quite as exciting as the above courtroom scene from The Untouchables, but today Rod Blagojevich, twice elected governor of the Land of Lincoln, was found guilty on 17 counts in the Federal criminal prosecution brought against him:
- Count 1-Wire fraud related to Children’s Memorial Hospital-GUILTY
- Count 2-Wire fraud related to the Senate Seat-GUILTY
- Count 3-Wire fraud related to the Senate Seat-GUILTY
- Count 4-Wire fraud related to the Senate Seat-GUILTY
- Count 5-Wire fraud related to the Senate Seat-GUILTY
- Count 6-Wire fraud related to the Senate Seat-GUILTY
- Count 7-Wire fraud related to the Senate Seat-GUILTY
- Count 8-Wire fraud related to the Senate Seat-GUILTY
- Count 9-Wire fraud related to the Racing Bill-GUILTY
- Count 10-Wire fraud related to the Senate Seat-GUILTY
- Count 11-Attempted extortion related to School Shakedown-NO VERDICT
- Count 12-Attempted extortion related to Children’s Memorial Hospital-GUILTY
- Count 13-Bribery related to Children’s Memorial Hospital-GUILTY
- Count 14-Extortion conspiracy related to Racing Bill-GUILTY
- Count 15-Bribery conspiracy related to Racing Bill-GUILTY
- Count 16-Attempted Extortion related to Tollway Shakedown-NO VERDICT
- Count 17-Bibery related to Tollway Shakedown-NOT GUILTY
- Count 18-Extortion conspiracy related to the Senate Seat-GUILTY
- Count 19-Attempted extortion related to the Senate Seat-GUILTY
- Count 20-Bribery conspiracy related to the Senate Seat-GUILTY Continue reading
I was on my way to court yesterday morning when I heard this ad on WLS attempting to lure businesses from Illinois:
“Hi, I’m Chris Christie, Governor of the State of New Jersey. I know what you’re thinking, ‘Move my business to New Jersey? Really?’ Really. My administration has worked hard to change the direction of our business climate, plus our state has many advantages. We have an incredible talent pool to drive your business. Innovative financing, incentive and assistance programs. And an exceptional quality of life for the people who live and work here. Oh, and one more thing. As long as I’m Governor, I will not raise your taxes. I am proud of the new direction we’ve brought to New Jersey: lower taxes, reduced government spending and less regulation: a better home for business — today and in the future. Don’t let Illinois balance its budget on the back of your business. Choose New Jersey – we mean business.”
The above video exemplifies the attitude that many politicians in Illinois demonstrate to laws that stand in their way. Rahm “Never let a crisis go to waste” Emanuel was a Chicago congressman. Besides being noted for a fondness for a certain four letter word which I discussed in this post, Emanuel is also noted for two things: he came up with the strategy of running phony conservative Democrats for Congress around the country, which helped the Democrats take back the House in 2006, and pad their short-lived majority in 2008, and he was Obama’s chief of staff. After tiring of being chief of staff, after Richie the Lesser, Mayor for life of the City-State of Chicago, decided that he didn’t wish to go on being Mayor until he died, like his father Richie the Incoherent, Rahm decided that becoming Mayor of the Windy City was an excellent escape plan from the Obama administration. After he announced, he quickly became the front runner, facing only token opposition. The election is set for February 22.
There was one pesky thing standing in the way of Rahm and his coronation. A provision in the state municipal code which requires that someone actually live in a city for at least one year, before seeking office to run the place. However, this is Illinois! When is the last time that the law in Illinois prevented a powerful Democrat from doing whatever he pleases? (If you regard the question as other than entirely rhetorical, I will assume you do not live in the Land of Lincoln.) The Cook County Board of Elections determined that although Emanuel resided in DC while he was Chief of Staff, and had rented out his Chicago house, he was, mirabile dictu!, still a resident of Chicago. A Chicago Circuit Court judge affirmed this decision. However, in a stunning development, an Appellate Court panel ruled two to one that Rahm is not a resident of Chicago and is not eligible to have his name appear on the ballot. The decision may be read here. Continue reading