Recently, Wendy and I wrote a study on the flight of Illinois taxpayers to greener pastures called "Policy Lessons From Illinois' Exodus of People and Money" (pdf) for the Illinois Policy Institute. Here are the key findings:
Key findings of this report include:
Recently, a ABC 15 in Chicago did a fascinating story on the migration study which really puts these numbers into a real-world perspective. The video is below, but I've pasted the text as well.
"My friend's step parents just moved to Indiana." People on the move. "Some of my coworkers, two of them now. One's moved to South Carolina and the other one's looking at moving there." It seems everyone knows someone. "My cousin moved down to Indiana." Leaving Illinois.
A newly-released study from the Illinois Policy Institute confirms what many seem to already know: People are looking elsewhere for healthier economic climates. Jessica Irace says, "It was easier for her to get a job and it was less of her paycheck they would take out. She felt like she could earn more money and support her family better."
In 2010 --the most recent year of data-- more than 4,000 people left Illinois for Indiana than vice versa. "She just left illinois to go there because of the tax rate." "There were better taxes and she could get a job easier." Add up every state coast to coast, and nearly 50,000 people left Illinois, taking with them nearly $2 billion in annual income.
John Joyce says, "I see the problem with Illinois as I don't see how they're going to resolve the financial situation in Illinois without tax increases." And the problem isn't just affecting individuals. "With the business climate in Illinois it's actually going the other way. I have a good friend who has a large company here in town who wishes when he was starting out 25 years ago that he stayed in Indiana. He'd be wealthier now."
So how do we fix the problem? The government seems to be struggling for answers, and so are the people. Joyce says, "I don't see how they're going to do it. We have too much debt, teacher's pension fund, things like that are insurmountable, almost." Irace says, "I lived in Missouri and I just moved back here. And my paycheck was way better in Missouri than it is here."
J. Scott Moody has nearly 20 years experience as a public policy economist with a specialty in tax policy and has over 180 publications. He has worked for numerous national and state-based think tanks such as the American Conservative Union Foundation, Federalism In Action, Tax Foundation, Heritage Foundation, and The Maine Heritage Policy Center.