Illinois state Rep. Chris Miller (R-Oakland) argues that lawmakers in Springfield have worked hard to earn the reputation they have with most of the state's voters.
“It’s been 40 years of Democratic leadership moving in the same direction,” Miller told the East Central Reporter. “When people don’t see anyone in leadership making an effort to reform bad polices, or do anything about pensions or spending that never seems to find an end, it breeds a lack of confidence.”
As the latest illustration, Miller points to a new NPR and University of Illinois-Springfield study that finds more than six in 10 Illinois taxpayers now admit they have thought of leaving the state due to rising taxes and other fiscal woes. The 61 percent share is an eight-point increase over last year's study.
Illinois state Rep. Chris Miller (R-Oakland)
Twenty-seven percent of respondents cited high taxes for the reason they want out, with the ratio of households earning upward of $100,000 leading the way at 68 percent. For many, the thought of getting out is more than just a pipe dream, as over the last five years more than 157,000 residents have fled the state, making it the only state in the U.S. to suffer population losses in consecutive years.
“The reasons those numbers are ticking upward are clear,” Miller said. “There are no real conversations being held about reform or restoring Illinois to greatness. Now we’re talking about a graduated tax that will only make it harder for successful people to stay here. They aren’t just going to sit by when the only solutions are to tax, borrow and spend more.”
While Gov. J.B. Pritzker has been selling the proposed tax increase as one that will only affect the state's highest earners, critics condemn it as just another blank check for the government.
“We need less intrusiveness and more liberty,” Miller said. “Simply pretending we don’t have a problem won’t fix it. When you make life better for people, they stay and prosper. When you make things harder, they’re quick to vote with their feet.”