Fact check: Illinois’ economic recovery under Pritzker among worst in nation

Fact check: Illinois’ economic recovery under Pritzker among worst in nation

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s newest campaign ad credits him with fixing state finances and boasts of Illinois’ job growth. Both are among the worst in the nation.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s latest campaign ad boasts his economic record, saying he fixed the state’s finances. The only thing missing is data to back up his claim.

Filmed in Normal, Illinois, the ad credits Pritzker for new jobs and local businesses and claims what he made normal in Normal, is becoming normal across Illinois. That’s not so.

The Bloomington-Normal metro area did recoup 104% of pandemic job losses. But out of 15 Illinois metropolitan areas, it is the only one to get back all the jobs it had before the pandemic.

It’s unlikely Pritzker will film an ad bragging about how he helped Kankakee recover only 38% of the jobs it lost during the pandemic.

The ad would make sense if Pritzker were running for the mayor of Normal, but Illinois as a state has had one of the worst pandemic recoveries in the nation. If job growth were booming like Pritzker claimed, Illinois wouldn’t have the highest unemployment rate in the Midwest and the fifth-highest nationwide.

Even among big states, California, Texas, Florida and New York all have lower unemployment rates than Illinois.

High taxes push out more residents, who find new jobs and better housing opportunities elsewhere. But according to Pritzker’s ad, Illinois is booming because, “More businesses are starting in Illinois than almost anywhere else in America.”

Based on 2022 job growth, there are 27 states doing better than Illinois. Residents are fleeing and three major companies – Boeing, Citadel and Caterpillar – in the past two months all announced they’re moving their headquarters out of Illinois.

The ad’s final claim is Pritzker worked to “fix the state’s finances.” That ignores the $313 billion in pension debt, the highest in the nation, and the record of 21 consecutive years of deficit budgets he’s continued during his term.

Mounting debt coupled with a shrinking work force mean Illinois’ finances are far from normal.

Unfortunately, tax increases are normal for Illinois, and state leaders have another one on the Nov. 8 ballot disguised as a “workers rights amendment.” If voters approve changing the state constitution, Amendment 1 would guarantee a $2,100 property tax increase for the average family by handing government union bosses leverage that cannot be diminished and force taxpayers to fund a wide range of new demands.

Normal for Normal, normal for Ilinois or normal for the nation are very different things. Pritzker’s new normal looks a lot like Illinois’ old normal.

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