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Shift in population to avoid taxes, regulations, and fees

How do you balance a budget when your population is fleeing?

State and local governments are demanding more from taxpayers – encouraging many of them to leave instead.


January 29, 2017  Illinois Policy

Due to fiscal crises, both state and local governments are asking more and more from the same taxpayers – encouraging many of them to leave instead.

It’s not easy to balance the budget in a state like Illinois, with crippling debts and a shrinking tax base.

The only way to get the job done is to rein in spending and reform the root of the state’s spending problems: namely the broken pension system and expensive collective bargaining agreements. But Illinois politicians have spurned these measures and haven’t passed a balanced budget since 2001. The state’s debts have been skyrocketing for decades.

Meanwhile, Illinois – the only shrinking state in the region – has had its’ population decline for three consecutive years as a result of massive out-migration to other states. In the most recent year of U.S. Census Bureau data, Illinois’ population shrank by 37,500.

illinois debt vs population

Illinois needs more economic growth and more taxpayers chipping in to fund massive, growing debts, but job creation is stagnant and people are fleeing for the nearest border. Yet, despite Illinois being in such an obvious bind, the state legislature has repeatedly proposed massive tax increases on the population.

The logic simply doesn’t make sense. Taxpayers are fleeing, and the state population is shrinking.

If Illinois can’t fund its debt with its current population, how will the state fund its future, larger debt with a presumably smaller population?

Debts have been exploding across Illinois at both the state and local levels. Consider, for example, pension debt. State pension debts have grown by $95 billion since fiscal year 2002. If Illinois actually budgeted for the pension payments as private sector actuarial rules would require, all of those unbalanced budgets of the past 15 years would look about $6.8 billion worse per year, assuming the additional $95 billion in debt was spread over all years evenly.

illinois state pension debt

The pension debt at the state level is spiraling out of control despite tens of billions in new borrowing and taxes that have poured into pension funds over the last decade.

Local pension debts are also going into a tailspin. And at the end of the day, both state and local governments are trying to extract revenue from the same tax base. Each layer of government is in a race to be first into the taxpayer’s pocket – before the taxpayer flees the state.

Meanwhile, Illinois has lost 1.2 million people on net through migration to other states since 2001, with record numbers leaving in each of the last three years. Illinois’ total state population has also shrunk three years running, and at an accelerating pace.

illinois outmigration

Illinois is in trouble. No easy mathematical answers will make these problems go away, and there is a substantial risk that trying to tax the state out of its fiscal mess will catalyze a death spiral. Increasing numbers of people leaving – and their taxable income along with them – will offset revenue from increased tax rates.

Meanwhile, the unfunded pension liability has grown so large and at such a rapid pace that there is a real risk it will spiral out of control, regardless of what taxpayers contribute.

On top of the pension debt are tens of billions in bonded debt, other post employment benefits debt, an expanded, overextended Medicaid system, and costly labor agreements with government unions.

Illinois’ financial crises reach multiple levels of government and are painfully real. The math of financing these debts is becoming less possible as more people leave and the debts spiral out of control. And when it comes to taxing their way out of debts, state and local governments will be targeting the same pocketbooks, putting extraordinary pressure on taxpayers.

Illinois needs to get serious about spending reforms. Collective bargaining laws need to be changed so that state and local governments can save substantially on their work rules and labor costs. The Illinois Constitution needs to be changed to allow for the transition from pensions to retirement accounts workers individually own, which taxpayers can afford.

Illinois is failing to prepare for a future fraught with financial risks. The clock is ticking on the Land of Lincoln as it approaches a financial cliff.

TAGS: balanced budget requirement, budget, collective bargaining, jobs, local government, taxes

Source: Will County News

Cruz Sanders Debate on Obamacare February 7, 2017

Source: Will County News

Senator Franken condemns Indiana’s school choice program

Dear Senator Franken, this isn’t #SNL. It’s my life.

Dear Senator Al Franken,
Sir, I have a bit of a bone to pick with you about your recent comments during the confirmation hearing for Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos. I hope you’ll kindly indulge me for just a moment to correct you on some of the things you said and perhaps more importantly, things you left out, during your time with the microphone.

You basically took it upon yourself to condemn Indiana’s school choice program on a national stage. But I live in Indiana. I’m a mom. And I’ve exercised school choice in Indiana. And I must say, you got a lot wrong, Senator. You should really speak to your staff about that.

Here’s what you said:

Basically what was happening is we were taking money from poor kids needing resources and giving it to middle class kids to continue going to religious school.

This statement is proof that you either do not understand school funding or made the choice to deliberately mislead the public. If, as you claim, the children are middle class children from the suburbs, then their per pupil dollars would reduce the money at their suburban schools, not the urban schools you claim are losing all the money.

And perhaps even more glaring is that you totally failed to mention that Indiana’s poor and minority children have been under-educated for decades. And for generations. This is precisely why school choice came to be in Indiana. I have two children graduating in a little over a year and when they started high school every Indianapolis Public school had a D or F rating.

Would you, Mr. Franken, put your child in a school with a D or F rating? Would you expect your friends or Senate colleagues to put their children in a school with a D or F rating?

We all know the answer, sir, because your children attended a school that costs more than $40,000 per year, a school known for educating celebrities and the children of royalty. Literally, people who wear crowns on their heads.

Here’s an excerpt to help you see your own hypocrisy, in case you missed it.

“Minnesota Sen. Al Franken’s two children attend Dalton School, described by the liberal-leaning Daily Beast as “one of New York’s most exclusive and rigorous private schools and boasts an impressive roster of celebrity alumni, including Anderson Cooper and Claire Danes.” Dalton’s application asks parents to list any prestigious titles they hold, including, “Princess, Senate and Ambassador,” according to TheDaily Beast.

Franken describes Dalton as “a very high-powered, expensive New York City private high school.” How expensive? Dalton’s tuition is currently $44,640 a year.”

So, Senator, with due respect, you really don’t have much standing to criticize Indiana’s school choice program while ignoring the fact that urban school districts were failing to provide quality education long before charter schools or vouchers were even a thing. Year after year, the people of Indiana have been paying taxes to a system that has under-educated an entire generation while at the same time, they’ve watched crime and incarceration in these same neighborhoods increase.

I suppose I’m somehow misguided in your mind, Mr. Senator, for not giving the D and F schools in my zip code a chance with my children. Is that because I never worked for Saturday Night Live, because I’m black, because I’m not part of the Who’s Who of American high society? I guess you think it’s okay that without school choice, I would have been obligated to send my children to lousy schools.

If your issue is that not enough families have access to quality education, then we agree. I have spent years adjusting my work schedule and jumping through logistical hoops to make the school choice thing work. So I agree that lawmakers need to make vouchers and charter schools more accessible to more families in Indiana.

My question to you, Senator Franken,  is how in the world have you and those before you been willing and able to sit by while black and brown and poor children have been trapped in underperforming schools? Whether in your state of Minnesota or my state of Indiana, there is an injustice right before your eyes that you are ignoring. I assume you realize that the fancy Dalton School you are used to isn’t really what school is like for regular Americans like me. I certainly hope you realize that.

Sir, we need you to fix the problem, not lecture us from your high perch about how you don’t agree with us being allowed to have options.

My family is a choice family. We are not anti public school; on the contrary, we are pro quality education no matter where it exists. And while I am pleased to see improvements in the Indianapolis Public Schools, it has come too late for my children. So I am most grateful to have been able to educate my children at a high quality Christian schools that has prepared them in content and character.  I’ll bet that the Dalton school prepared your children in lots of ways that make you grateful and proud.

Senator Franken, I realize that you have wealth and this all may be an exercise in pretending to solve problems that won’t ever affect you. But this is my life. And my kids.

So please work harder to get it right. We know you love jokes. But this is serious business and so far, you are getting it wrong.



Cheryl Kirk

Indianapolis resident, nurse, mother of 3,

Source: Will County News