All Posts by Empower Wisconsin

Leaving the Land of Lincoln

Empower Wisconsin | Jan. 8, 2020

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON — Illinois is bleeding people.

The Land of Lincoln’s population declined by more than any other state over the past decade, according to new data by the U.S. Census Bureau. 

Think high taxes and liberal grow-government policies might have something to do with the exodus? It’s as likely as the Chicago Bears not making the playoffs this year.

Between 2010 and 2019, Illinois lost a total 159,700 residents, or about 1.2 percent of the state’s population. Only West Virginia posted a higher percentage loss over the period.

Illinois’ population decreased by an estimated 51,250 people — the size of the city of La Crosse — in 2019 alone.

To be sure, the exodus is the result of a lot of factors, what some economists have described as a “perfect storm” of conditions  — from declining birth rates to closed factories and violent city streets. But Illinois’ well-earned reputation as a high-tax state and escalating housing costs have forced thousands of Illinoisans to seek greener personal economic pastures.

While neighbors in Wisconsin and Indiana have their financial houses in order, Illinois taxpayers are buried under $130 billion-plus in unfunded pension liability and chronic multi-billion-dollar state budget deficits. That has everything to do with the policies of the state’s controlling tax-and-spend liberals.

report issued late last year shows the state’s budget deficit will hit $3.2 billion and its stack of unpaid bills is expected to rise to north of $19 billion by 2025 on its present course.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker believes the state’s budget woes can be fixed by a $3.4 billion progressive tax hike, a plan voters will ultimately decide later this year. But a new report by Illinois Policy finds the state’s higher earners are leaving the state, taking their taxable billions with them.

“For tax year 2019, that amounted to a net loss of up to $5.6 billion in adjusted gross income to other states, with each person leaving earning on average $18,000 more per tax return than those who moved to Illinois,” Illinois Policy’s Bryce Hill wrote.

Hill notes Pritzker’s tax plan would jack up taxes on the Illinoisans most likely to leave on net, meaning more middle-income earners would have to pick up the tab.

Many of those exiting Illinois are heading north to Wisconsin.

A report in June by the Badger Institute found on net, Wisconsin gained 116,000 residents between 2006 and 2017 — an average of nearly 40 residents a day.

“As residents and businesses flee the fiscal basket case that is Illinois, the Badger State has become an increasingly attractive destination due to advantages in the labor market, economic growth and business climate,” the report notes.

Booming business on Wisconsin’s southeast border with Illinois, with massive economic development projects like Amazon and Foxconn, is only hastening the exodus.

While Wisconsin conservative lawmakers have cut taxes by a more than $8.5 billion over the past nine years, Illinois, led by its liberals, proposed more than $4.6 billion in tax hikes and fee increases in the last budget alone.

Fiscal conservatives on both sides of the state line say there is an important lesson to be learned. If Wisconsin fails to cut into its still relatively high tax rates and doesn’t check government growth and regulation, it could see population losses ahead.

Listen to more:

Explore More
McFarland schools Equity chief resigns after using the ‘N-word’

McFarland schools Equity chief resigns after using the ‘N-word’

By M.D. Kittle MADISON — McFarland Associate Principal Anne Nichols is resigning after acknowledging she used the “N-word” in the…

Read More »

October 5, 2022
‘Pronouns to surgery pipeline’ in Wisconsin

‘Pronouns to surgery pipeline’ in Wisconsin

By Paul Rossi, Chalkboard Review Analysis Following a recent report from Philadelphia showing how a gender clinic is influencing teachers…

Read More »

October 5, 2022
Evers’ DPI licensed teachers charged with sexual misconduct

Evers’ DPI licensed teachers charged with sexual misconduct

By M.D. Kittle MADISON — While Gov. Tony Evers’ campaign goes about casting stones, don’t forget the former lord of…

Read More »

October 5, 2022
Spotlight: Wisconsin Taxpayers vs. Biden

Spotlight: Wisconsin Taxpayers vs. Biden

By M.D. Kittle MADISON — President Joe Biden’s “One-Time Student Loan Debt Relief Plan” comes with a big bill for…

Read More »

October 5, 2022
Americans fed up with inflation pumped to vote

Americans fed up with inflation pumped to vote

By M.D. Kittle MADISON — Call it inflation motivation. More than 68 percent of respondents say the soaring price of…

Read More »

October 4, 2022
Barnes doubles down on nasty tweet about Rep. Steve Scalise

Barnes doubles down on nasty tweet about Rep. Steve Scalise

By John McCormack, National Review In 2017, a progressive activist tried to assassinate Republican members of Congress when he opened…

Read More »

October 4, 2022

5 thoughts on “Leaving the Land of Lincoln

  • I lived in Illinois all my life up until 4 years ago when we moved from the Chicago suburbs to Kenosha. We were impressed with Gov. Walker, how he moved Wisconsin from a significant debt to a surplus, and how his conservative principles benefited the state. Chicago and Illinois are models of how not to run not to run governments. Democratic politicians have been servants of public employee unions, resulting in the state and city being stuck with unmanageable unfunded pension debt. States with similar woes are almost universally blue ones.

  • Yeah, Illinois is a mess.
    But domestic net migration in Wisconsin is still way down over overall for the past decade, even despite us gaining more people from Illinois than we lose to them.

    Meanwhile, blue Minnesota’s domestic net migration has actually been positive in the past year and far exceeds Wisconsin’s over the past decade.

    This whole article lacks context, it’s basically the second lowest rung on the ladder dancing on the grave of the lowest run.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_and_territories_by_net_migration#Net_domestic_migration

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.