State House Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) thinks it is time for Illinois voters – at least the ones who remain in the state with the greatest population loss in the U.S. over the last decade – to start taking some accountability.
“We get what we vote for and, until the voters of this state truly decide they’ve had enough of this one-party rule, nothing’s going to change,” Caulkins told the Chambana Sun. “The people of Illinois have voted for these same policies over and over again and our state is suffering because of it.”
Illinois lost nearly 170,000 residents between 2010 and 2019 for the nation's largest raw population decline and second only to West Virginia in terms of percentages, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) took an even deeper dive into the numbers and reports that if Illinois had merely kept pace with the national average rate of growth since the start of the Great Recession in 2007, its population would be 9 percent greater than the new census shows.
Illinois state Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur)
“One of the things not mentioned enough as a result of all this is the loss of revenue,” Caulkins said. “There’s a compounding effect on the economy when you look at the millions lost every year just in income taxes. Until we’re ready to reform these pension plans and deal with this huge drain the liabilities are having on everything, nothing is really going to change.”
IPI did estimate the economic impact in its report, concluding that Illinois' economy would be at least $78 billion stronger today with the 9-percent greater population that average growth would have provided.
Illinois' population decline reached record levels in 2018 just as lawmakers in Springfield passed the largest permanent income tax hike in state history. Equally alarming are multiple findings that reveal the largest segment of those fleeing the state are working-age individuals who cite rising taxes as the primary reason for wanting out.