Three Years of Decline

According to the Wall Street Journal, Illinois which forever stated it was the “Land of Lincoln,” is today the Land of Leaving.

It seems that the home of Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton is not so friendly to the average citizen. Come on, there have to be places in the world where 700-plus murders per year and five times more being wounded is not the striking statistic which it is. Perhaps regions of Africa kill more and have higher taxes, but in the United States Chicago, Illinois stands alone.

According to the Census Bureau, Illinois now leads the nation for the steepest population loss according to the Journal.

From July, 2015 to July, 2016, Illinois lost 114,000 people in net migration to other states. These figures are especially revealing since those leaving made in income far more than those replacing them. Those leaving made on average $76,824 while the average replacement earned $56,689.

Illinois struggles each year to write a budget. The state is practically dead broke. The state struggles under huge unfunded pension debt. Their corporate tax rate is 9.5 percent and personal income is taxed at the Oklahoma rate of 5 percent.

The article concludes with the census data show that Illinois’ net migration losses since 2000 are equivalent to the net losses in the 10 next largest U.S. cities after Chicago.

What Oklahoma state Democrats are proposing is to extend the 2011 tax hike that recently expired, with Oklahoma (through its own fault) facing an $868 million budget hole. Don’t be surprised to see Republicans promoting tax increases and other revenue schemes short of any real reform.

Most Oklahomans expected to see the personal income tax rate reduced to 4.85 percent from its current 5 percent. Until Oklahoma fully eliminates the personal income tax, we will continue to lose opportunities to Texas which has no income tax and seems to get along quite well without one.

Oklahoma, like Illinois, has lost population. In 2000, after the census Oklahoma lost one of its six congressmen because we didn’t keep up with other states west of the Mississippi River.

Oil and gas revenue has carried the state for years. As a result, our political leaders have not had to work as hard as they can and should. One hundred dollar a barrel oil made all boats rise, and we became lazy.

We have also ignored needed reforms which would have resulted in new companies and faces coming to the states.

Education is pitiful. It needs reforms in school choice and consolidation. Presently, there are 44,000 Oklahoma students attending colleges, but not taking college courses. They are racking up debt, but no credits. These people are in remediation. Wouldn’t it be better to leave them in high school for another semester regardless of what that might do to graduation rates?

The governor’s finance secretary said, “I think it is important for everyone to realize you are not cutting your way out of this situation.” He misses the point – we need to work our way out by diversifying our tax base.

Mayor Dewey Bartlett was run out of office because he didn’t know how to be the “business gettingness mayor.” He was a flop. Governor Fallin’s Commerce and Tourism Secretary is another Dewey. She is totally worthless and incompetent. We have no serious program to search out and bring new companies to the state.

Why we can’t make these reforms and call on out of state firms is beyond me. Many California companies want to get away from high taxes and get to a region with four seasons, water and energy. That might be a good starting point.

We reap what we sow. Oklahoma today ranks last in income growth. Personal income grew 0.4 percent here versus a national average of 1.1 percent. 2017 could be another poor year for Oklahomans. We brought it on ourselves.