Wilcox says halting mass exodus will be his No. 1 priority
If elected as a state senator, McHenry County board member Craig Wilcox said he will immediately address out-migration.
The retired Air Force colonel vying for the Senate District 32 seat held by Sen. Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry), who decided to not seek re-election, told the Lake County Gazette the mass exodus of residents exiting Illinois can be changed.
Responding to the Illinois Policy Institute's Dec. 1 "New IRS Data: Illinois Sees Record Loss of People, Income to Other States" report, the Republican candidate from McHenry said even though Illinois birth rate exceeds the death rate, the figures released by the IRS show a negative trend that local governments simply cannot sustain.
“Out-migration effects citizens because they are replaced with a resident that earns less or is not replaced at all, and that is an income tax drop to the state and the local arena,” Wilcox said of the data results based on the 2015 fiscal year. “We have two more years of out-migration that have occurred that we may not have data on.”
The answer to the exodus is not in a property tax freeze that many lawmakers have proposed, according to Wilcox.
“You are freezing taxes at an already high level,” Wilcox said. “We have municipalities where the property tax burden exceeds 4 percent of the home value and in some places in south Chicago it pushes 7 percent.”
Wilcox said the national average is just over 2 percent.
“Freezing property taxes at a high level does no good for the taxpayers who already can’t afford it, so we want to push for a hard 1 percent property tax cap on the value of the property,” Wilcox said, capping taxes has succeeded in a number of other areas with data to prove it.
The next answer to the mass exodus is pension reform, according to Wilcox, who said it is possible to see relief through implementing self-managed plans that combine public and private contributions that match employee fees, specifically in the state university retirement system.
Lastly, relaxed business regulations will halt the mass exodus, he said.
“Without giving too much of our campaign detail away, we are going to be a proponent for a pilot program in certain sections of the state to combat competing laboring states,” Wilcox said. “We will watch it for a couple of years and see if it spurs economic development in those areas and look to migrate that statewide as it proves to be effective.”
The 32nd Senate District includes McHenry, Woodstock, Crystal Lake and Fox Lake.