Taxes are driving millennials out of Illinois, and Rep. Caulkins predicts retirees are next in line
Illinois state Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) argues that a new Smart Asset survey that found successful millennials are fleeing Illinois at the second-fastest rate in the U.S. tells us nothing a savvy observer shouldn't already have known.
“This is nothing we didn’t expect,” Caulkins told the Chambana Sun of the findings, which put Illinois behind only New York in terms the rate at which residents those under age 35 with adjusted gross incomes of at least $100,000 are leaving the state. “It’s a sad commentary about the economy and future of our state that we lose so many young people to first going out of state for school. Many of them never come back, and now you compound that with the number of educated, young people that are here but the first thing they want to do after they get their career established is leave.”
Researchers concluded that nearly 2,300 residents meeting that criteria left Illinois over a yearlong period commencing in 2015, further fueling an ominous trend that has seen the state lose population in each of the last five years. In addition, a 2018 University of Illinois at Springfield poll found that two of three Illinoisans younger than 35 have considered relocating out of state, with runaway taxes being their greatest motivation.
“People are voting with their feet and that is a serious problem,” Caulkins said. “I don’t understand why the Democrats don’t see that, why they fail to acknowledge [that tax burdens are] just driving people out of Illinois.”
With the state having just passed a $40 billion budget that includes at least 21 new provisions that raise taxes or fees, Caulkins worries things may get worse before they get better.
“We’ve already seen working- and middle-class families leave to follow the jobs,” he said. “Now, we’re seeing that the millennials are leaving. I think the next group we’re going to see do that are going to be the retirees. I predict in the next two to three years we're going to see a surge because of all the taxes and fees going on. Retirees are not going to stick around until they can’t afford to, and I suspect that will be within the next two to three years.”