Last year, I said the nation’s most important referendum was the proposal to emasculate Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (I was delighted when voters said no to the pro-spending lobbies and preserved TABOR).
This year’s most important referendum is taking place in November in Illinois, where pro-spending lobbies are very anxious to repeal the state’s flat tax.
If they succeed, the steady flow of taxpayers out of Illinois will become a torrent.
That’s because the flat tax is the only semi-decent feature of the state’s fiscal policy. If it goes, there won’t be any hope.
My buddy from the Illinois Policy Institute, Orphe Divounguy, has a column in today’s Wall Street Journal about the dismal fiscal and economic outlook in the Land of Lincoln.
Long the economic hub of the Midwest, Illinois has lost more than 850,000 residents to other states during the past decade. The state has been shrinking for six consecutive years and suffered the largest raw population decline of any state in the 2010s. …Growing government debt and a crushing tax burden are depressing economic growth. State spending is up, but personal-income growth is lagging. Since 2000, Illinois’s per capita personal income growth has been 21% lower than the national average. …ratings firms are paying attention. Illinois’s credit rating is one notch above junk. …Illinois’s public pension payments already consume nearly a third of the state budget, yet the unfunded liability—which the state currently pegs at $137 billion, though others put the figure much higher—continues to rise. …Since 2000, Illinois has increased pension spending by more than 500%.