Illinois scrapes the bottom of the barrel in job creation

January 31, 2012

 As Governor Pat Quinn continues to use taxpayer money as perks to keep companies and jobs from moving out of the state to greener pastures, what returns are taxpayers receiving for their monies? 

On January 26 The Illinois Policy Institute published a revealing Tax & Budget Brief — Wrong way, Illinois:  Failed policies lead more Illinoisans down path of unemployment — that relates the stark truth about how Illinois’s lack of economic recovery factored into creating jobs, using graphs to display Illinois’s failure, unlike forty-six other states, to create an environment where people can be put to work.

Recently noted was the first year anniversary since Springfield Democrat legislators used a partisan Lame Duck session to pass record income tax increases under the pretense that the extra revenue would be used to pay down debt.  This was indeed a pipe dream. 

Although the 2011 income tax rate increases enriched the state coffers by $7 billion, did the dawn of 2012 bring with it a less debt ridden state?  Not at all. On the contrary, Moody’s recently lowered Illinois’s credit rating from A-1 to A-2 based on the state’s failure to put its house in order.

According to a fiscal analysis released by the Illinois Institute for Illinois’s Fiscal Sustainability, the enacted FY2012 State budget advocates a spending plan which would increase Illinois’s total general operating deficit to $5.0 billion by June of 2012.  By the end of 2012 the Institute projects that Illinois will have accumulated $5.5 billion in unpaid bills to vendors and local governments

Judy Topinka,Illinois State Comptroller, had this to say.  Officially Illinois has a backlog of more than $4.25 billion in unpaid bills, but when factoring in other bills the figure is closer to around $8.5 billion.  

To add insult upon insult, Governor Quinn followed through this month with what he described as an urgent need to borrow $800 million of new 10-year general obligation bonds to pay for investments in schools, roads, mass transit, and other key capital projects across the state to keep the already sinking financial boat of Illinois afloat.  Also in January Quinn stated emphatically that the 2011 income taxes are mandatory in 2012 to help pay the bills. 

It is only fair to ask why, despite a slow positive national economic recovery experienced during 2011 in forty six other states where unemployment dipped, the opposite was true here in Illinois?  Why didn’t the extra $7 billion realized through the 2011 increased income tax rates likewise bolster Illinois’s financial situation to improve the state’s economy and in turn create jobs.  As it was, more Illinoisans were placed on the unemployment rolls during 2011 than in any other state.

Illinois racked up yet another disastrous unemployment record in 2011.  Not only did Illinois place more unemployed Illinoisans on its unemployment rolls than did any other state, but Illinois’s dip was larger than those experienced by North Carolina , Hawaii and Mississippi.

The facts:  Unemployment in Illinois stood at 9% in January of 2011.  By December of 2011 it had increased to 9.8%, netting in Illinois a 0.8% loss of jobs.  In terms easily understood, one in ten Illinoisans who would like to go off to a job in the morning now find themselves unemployed.   

 Why did Illinois miss out on the slow economic recovery which forty six other states were able to benefit from in 2011?  According to the Illinois Policy Institute:

Illinois leadership had substantive policy options when it began 2011 with major fiscal changes.  But rather than reduce spending, tackle it pension problems and reduce the cost of doing business in Illinois, officials chose to kick off the year with the largest tax hike in state history. 

 The Illinois Policy Institute continues to fault “Illinois’s current leadership for failing to recognize that Illinois is completing not only against other states for investment and jobs, but globally.”

Illinois leadership must be held accountable by Illinoisans. The policies of the party in power in Springfield and the state are based on the faulty premise that an increase of spending is possible by keeping in place the 2011 income tax rate increases and through borrowing additional money to swell the state’s coffers.

This sounds all too familiar.  The same was tried in 2011 and proved to be a total failure, resulting only in increasing Illinois’s already massive debt.

Springfield demands a thorough cleansing of Democrat legislators in Springfield who know only how to tax and spend.  The chance to do so isn’t open to Illinoisans on March 20, but may the November General Elections pave the way for Illinoisans to vote out Democrat legislators who have caused so much malaise here in Illinois and to vote in Republicans who will focus on meaningful reforms with the right policies to return Illinois to sound fiscal footing and put Illinoisans back to work.  Not open to question is that Mike Madigan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, must go!


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