Deb Cohorst

Deb Cohorst

“I have lived in Illinois for almost 40 years. My husband was born and raised here in Effingham, and we like it here. We feel like this was a great place to raise our kids, but frankly, I’m worried how much longer we can stay here because we are both retired. And with the rising property taxes and gas taxes, it’s becoming harder to survive on a fixed income.”

“My husband and grandson have some health issues, so we have to travel quite a bit for them to get to see the specialist – four hours round trip. With the recent rise in gas prices and our high gas taxes, it’s a hardship for us.”

“My husband has had leukemia. He was in the hospital for four months in St. Louis. When he had it three years ago, gas prices were much lower. But if they were what they are now, we couldn’t have done it. We wouldn’t have been able to afford getting him to and from care. That’s a scary thought.”

“And what’s most concerning is that when Pritzker doubled the gas tax, he included automatic increases, so they can raise taxes without a vote. We just don’t feel like they’re ever going to come down. This tax increase is just going to keep going up and up and up, and it’s all out of our hands.”

“When you live in a rural area, it’s particularly hard because we have to travel so far even to take our kids to school, to go to the grocery store. It’s not like you can just jump on your bike and ride your bike into town.”

“With gas prices, we typically put our gas charges on a credit card and then we pay the credit card bill off at the end of the month. And when you get that bill that’s double what it used to be just for running simple errands, it’s pretty staggering.”

“So, we’re trying to fill up the tank more often to not have such a big hit at one time. I’m trying to pay in cash when we can, but most pumps aren’t really set up for cash. So, it’s kind of difficult.”

“Property taxes are another thing that we’re really worried about, and it scares me we may have to move. I have friends in neighboring states, and they cannot believe what we’re paying in property taxes.”

“I am paying more for the property tax on my half-acre lot than my three out-of-state friends’ property taxes combined.”

“Recently, a family member moved out of state and right off the bat, they said they save thousands on property taxes alone. My husband and I really don’t want to leave, but we may not have a choice. It’s scary because the pensions aren’t being addressed and that’s a concern. Meanwhile, our property taxes increase every year.”

“It’s not tens of thousands like some other families pay. But when you’re on a fixed income – and the people in this area don’t earn like what they earn in Chicago or some of the bigger cities, at our wage level, it’s getting harder and harder to keep up as property taxes keep increasing and we’ve seen the effect that’s having.”

“Unfortunately, some of my friends have left the state, and we’ve seen a lot of businesses closed since the pandemic. My next-door neighbor lost their business, and some of the locals have gone to neighboring states where cost of living is cheaper, but they still want to be close to family. They just don’t want to live in Illinois.”

“Our property values aren’t escalating as fast as the big cities, but they’re still driving people away.”

“I would not vote for Amendment 1, and I would encourage everyone I know not to vote for it.”

“With inflation out of control and the current state of Illinois debt liabilities, this amendment would be devastating to not only my family but any family. If property taxes go up, rents go up.  Young people have a hard enough time trying to obtain home ownership, an amendment like this just makes it that much harder.”

“I don’t think many of the legislators from Chicago are making decisions which affect us without a real understanding of what it’s like in these rural areas. This is where the food comes from. So, when the governor or legislators make it difficult for farmers or people like me to get to town through higher gas taxes, it just has a snowball effect.”

“I don’t think they understand that we are basically feeding the state and other states. So, if they cause us to lose our jobs, or leave because things are too financially difficult, who’s going to do the work left behind?”

“Workers in rural areas aren’t making six figures. We are working people and we live within our means, so when you have a government that doesn’t, it’s frustrating.”

Deb Cohorst
Retired financial system analyst
Effingham, Illinois

Want more? Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you, we'll keep you informed!
Keep scrolling for more inspiring stories

Have a story to share?

Tell us how a state or local policy affects your life.
If we decide to feature your story, one of our writers will reach out to you directly.