Reick: Fiscally chaotic 'status quo' fueling mass exodus from state
Steven Reick, the Republican candidate for the District 63 state House seat, spoke about the Illinois out-migration trend and the reasons why it has continued unabated in a recent article in the Northwest Herald.
“The status quo has driven people and jobs out of Illinois because the Legislature does the bidding of groups that have bought and paid for it instead of the work of the people,” Reick told the Northwest Herald recently.
The exodus of jobs and workers from Illinois has been an issue for more than a decade, but a recent poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute found that more than 47 percent of Illinois voters want to move out of the state and 20 percent expect to leave within a year.
Over the last 10 years, more than 700,000 people have left the state, 105,000 in 2015 alone. The primary reason given is Illinois' high taxes. Another reason cited is the increasing lack of good-paying jobs.
The September jobs report revealed that manufacturing lost another 800 jobs, with a total of 8,500 jobs lost since the beginning of the year. Manufacturing lost more than 6,000 jobs in 2015. Blue-collar jobs are moving out of state due to costly business regulations, including expensive workers' compensation insurance premiums. Steel production is one example of the high workers' compensation rates. In Illinois, employers pay double and triple the insurance rates of other Midwestern states.
The Simon Institute poll also showed that state government is a driving force for 15 percent of residents who want to leave Illinois. The turmoil in the legislature, with fiscal uncertainty under the lingering budget impasse and a rising backlog of unpaid bills, has driven businesses and workers to more business-friendly climates.
Reick has spoken frequently of the state pension system and the unfunded $111 billion liability. Pensions now make up nearly 25 percent of the state's budget. Taxpayers and businesses are unwilling to absorb another tax hike to pay the state's unpaid bills. State Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger said income taxes would have to double to approximately 8 percent to pay those bills.
While Reick joins his fellow Republican candidates and lawmakers in calling for pension reform to stabilize the state's budget, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that existing benefits cannot be diminished. The ruling affects all portions of the pension plan, from the health care coverage to the annual cost of living adjustments.
Reick proposed treating the pension budget as a capital project and using a dedicated revenue source to pay down the five state-run pensions' liability. He also supports a defined-contribution pension plan, such as a 401(k)-type plan, for all new state employees.
As a self-employed tax attorney, Reick has seen pension plans fail and the devastating effects on the workers and retirees that follow.
“Many of my clients are pilots for United Airlines, and I know first-hand what it looks like when a pension plan explodes, and it’s not pretty," Reick said in his campaign blog. "The same thing is happening here, only the numbers are bigger and the taxpayers are going to be left holding the bag.”
Reick also supports Gov. Bruce Rauner's "Turnaround Agenda," which addresses the issues that are driving jobs and workers out of the state. Reick believes that changing the status quo, ranging from workers' compensation, tort and pension reforms, to imposing term limits on lawmakers and redistricting reform, will lead to positive changes in Illinois and reverse the outflow to other states.
Organizations in this Story
P.O. Box 27 Harvard, IL 60033