Illinois state Rep. Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) on the House floor | repugaste.com
A new Wirepoints analysis of Internal Revenue Service data concludes that Illinois’ ongoing outmigration crisis has caused the state at least $310 billion in adjusted gross income since the start of the new millennium.
By comparison, Florida gained nearly $1 trillion in adjusted gross income over the same period while Texas added $250 billion, with researchers noting that much of those gains came at Illinois’ expense.
As a result, state Rep. Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) is imploring his fellow lawmakers to take a look in the mirror.
“Again, it’s part of not fixing the problems we have and doing what we need to be more efficient and better stewards of taxpayer money,” Ugaste told the Kane County Reporter. “When we lose people, we lose business and revenue. All the money we lose could pay down debt. Instead, Springfield’s answer has been just to tax more.”
The price for such a course has been steep, with analysts noting that their research only ran through the year 2016.
In each of the last five years, Illinois has seen population declines so severe that at one point it fell behind Pennsylvania and out of the top five most populated states in the nation. There has also been speculation that the state could lose as many as two U.S. Representatives to reapportionment in 2021 after the decennial census is certified.
In addition, Wirepoints found that the state would have gained income from people moving here in recent years, but IRS data determined that those leaving the state had average incomes of $14,000 higher than those arriving.
“We need to start making government operate more efficiently,” Ugaste said. “That starts with addressing our pension crisis once and for all, along with things like workers comp reform. We need to be fair, and make sure we aren’t doing things in a way that make businesses not want to be here because things are so overburdensome.”
Ugaste said he believes all the answers have to come from Springfield.
“We have to look at all these unfunded mandates that are being advanced that cause things like our property taxes to rise so high,” Ugaste said. “You hear talk about changing things, but a substantive movement is something else.”