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Illinois: Land of Leaving

The following is an excerpt from a Wall Street Journal editorial:

According to the Census Bureau, Illinois now leads the nation for the steepest population decline. Between July 2015 and July 2016, Illinois lost some 114,000 people in net migration to other states, with total population decline of 37,508 (including births and deaths). For the third year in a row it was the only state to have lost population among the nine in its Great Lakes and Mid-America region.

The numbers are especially worrisome for the state’s tax base because the average person moving out of the state earns some $20,000 more than the average person moving in. According to IRS data for tax year 2014 (filed in 2015), the average income of the taxpayer leaving Illinois was $76,824 while the average income of the new arrival was $56,689.

That gap is widening and the differential can be traced to policy decisions as the state staggers under pension debt and an entrenched Democratic-public union machine in Springfield. […]

The Census data show that Illinois’s net migration losses since 2000 are equivalent to the net losses in the 10 next largest U.S. cities after Chicago. The 2011 tax hike has partially expired, but Democrats are trying to shake Mr. Rauner down for a repeat. He needs to hold firm to stop the state’s population exodus.

Read the full editorial here.