SPRINGFIELD (Jan. 27, 2016) – Illinois Policy Institute CEO John Tillman released the following statement in response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s State of the State address, delivered today: “Illinois is in a world of hurt. The resounding chorus from special interests and opponents of reform in Springfield is that all would be well in Illinois...
SPRINGFIELD (Jan. 27, 2016) – Illinois Policy Institute CEO John Tillman released the following statement in response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s State of the State address, delivered today:
“Illinois is in a world of hurt. The resounding chorus from special interests and opponents of reform in Springfield is that all would be well in Illinois if only the governor would agree to more tax increases and just sign a budget. That thinking is completely wrong, and today’s address by Rauner is a refreshing reminder that he doesn’t buy that argument, either.
“Illinois’ deep problems did not begin during the last 12 months with Rauner as governor, but during the last several decades of House Speaker Mike Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton and the rest of the status-quo political establishment. Now this same crowd is standing in the way of the very reforms needed to save Illinois. It’s time to face reality and accept that doing things the way they have been done for years has not worked and will not save our state going forward. Illinois must embrace dramatic change and reform, such as the ideas offered in Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda.
“Madigan and many Democrats insist that Rauner’s union reforms would hurt the middle class and reduce Illinoisans’ standard of living. But if things are so great without reform, then why do blue-collar workers in Right-to-Work Indiana make more than the same workers in Illinois? Why did Illinois have fewer jobs at the end of 2015 than it had at the start? Why hasn’t the manufacturing sector recovered from the Great Recession?
“Proponents of more tax increases think that stealing $3 billion, $4 billion or more from hard-working families is the solution. But we’ve seen where that got us in the past: The money never went to classrooms or social services. Ninety cents out of every $1 generated by the 2011 tax hike went straight to a bloated, broken pension system that puts the interests of retired government workers ahead of taxpayers, the working class and the poor.
“Opponents of reform claim that Rauner is ‘holding hostage’ the state budget over nonbudget matters. But consider this: Illinois could save $300 million annually by reforming workers’ compensation for employees of local and state government. Local governments could save hundreds of millions of dollars if only they were able to get around a restrictive prevailing-wage system in Illinois and instead engage in competitive bidding for public construction work. The rate at which people are moving out of Illinois has accelerated dramatically in recent years; on net, one taxpayer moves out of the state every 5 minutes. This massive out-migration from Illinois has cost more than $8 billion in annual state and local taxes since 1995. And consider what Illinois could be like if, instead of losing jobs over the course of a year, businesses viewed the state as a place where they could set up shop, expand and start hiring from our talented workforce.
“The governor signing his name at the bottom of another unbalanced budget won’t do anything to save Illinois from its looming economic collapse. Even signing his name at the bottom of a balanced budget isn’t enough to fix Illinois. The only way for Illinois to reclaim its place as a beacon of economic prosperity and bastion of opportunity is to enact significant, transformational reforms.”
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