Blumenthal: Our tax base is eroding
A recent poll conducted by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale discovered that 47 percent of registered voters in Illinois want to leave the state.
Their top reason? Taxes, with 27 percent of those surveyed citing taxes as the driver for their desire to move.
Martin Blumenthal, the Republican candidate for the District 58 state House seat, said the results were not surprising.
“Well, it has been a problem for a long time,” Blumenthal told the Lake County Gazette. “Last I heard, someone calculated that a resident leaves every five minutes. That is a lot of people leaving.”
The poll also revealed that a whopping 84 percent of voters believe the state is heading in the wrong direction. Blumenthal echoed their sentiments and said the atmosphere in the state is not conductive to fostering growth and families, especially with jobs leaving the state.
“I know that manufacturing has left in the past 10 years, or even longer than that," Blumenthal said. "I believe it is around 160,000 manufacturing jobs. It makes sense that people go where the jobs are and where the cost of living is more reasonable. People with children obviously look for decent schools. I think there are many factors.”
Illinois has lost thousands of manufacturing jobs, with many manufacturers moving to nearby states because taxes are lower.
Blumenthal personally has known people who left the state for more affordable living conditions.
“They are retired and live on fixed incomes," Blumenthal said. "They go to states where their cost of living is (more affordable), and there is no income tax. I can understand it.”
While Blumenthal understood people’s reasons for leaving, he also acknowledged that their departure does not bode well for Illinois.
“It means that our tax base is eroding,” Blumenthal said. “The more people that leave -- everything else being equal -- (that) increases the burden on everyone (who stays). Of course, that will accelerate people leaving.”
Blumenthal, a lawyer by trade, said that to stop the bleeding, Illinois needs to make some hard changes, including spending cuts and potentially raising the income tax temporarily.
“The only way to reverse the trend is to put the brakes on the downward spiral we are in.” Blumenthal said. “We have to have a balanced budget, and we can’t balance it all on the shoulders of taxpayers. I think income taxes may have to rise somewhat in the short term, but spending needs to be really slashed to provide only essential services to the people of the state.”
Blumenthal said he is still hopeful that the state can turn things around, but changes have to be coming soon because it will take hard work.
“We have to reverse the trend before it turns into a Detroit situation, where it just collapses under its own weight,” Blumenthal said. “I believe we can still do it. We have to do something now because it’s a process, and it’s going to take a long time.”
Organizations in this Story