The average Illinoisan works 208 days to pay the cost of government
Lawrence J. McQuillan, PhD
July 26 is Illinois’ Cost of Government
the date of the calendar year on which the average Illinois
worker has earned enough gross income to pay off his or her share of the
spending and regulatory burden imposed by government at the federal, state and
calculation is done each year by Americans for Tax Reform Foundation in
In 2012, the typical Illinoisan has worked
208 days to earn enough money to pay for the spending and regulatory burdens
imposed by governments at all levels – 11 days longer than the average of all 50
states, July 15.
The graphic below shows how long
taxpayers in each state must work to pay off their government burden. Illinois
ranks 44th in the nation –
50 being worst – and its ranking fell two places since 2011. Illinois has the
highest cost of government in the Midwest and is heading in the wrong direction.
Number of days to pay
cost of government
Tennessee has the lowest cost of
government (180 days), followed by Louisiana and Mississippi. But even in
Tennessee a typical resident has to work until June 28 to pay their government costs!
Connecticut (222 days), New York and
New Jersey have the highest cost of government. A typical resident of
Connecticut must work into the second week of August to pay the burden.
High costs haven’t
stopped Illinois lawmakers from piling on even more burdens. In 2011, Illinois
legislators and Gov. Pat Quinn raised personal income taxes 67 percent and
corporate income taxes 46 percent, allowing state spending to climb ever higher.
Illinois now has
unpaid government bills of roughly $8 billion, which means spending will
increase even more when these bills are finally paid. And unfunded public pension
liabilities are $83 billion and unfunded public retiree health care costs are
People leave Illinois
at a rate of one person every 10 minutes because they see better opportunities
elsewhere. Illinois must become more competitive or it will continue to bleed people,
income and investments to other states. An essential step is to get the cost of
government under control and to do it quickly.
the complete ranking: