What Am I Griping About?

Inspired by this post by James at Outside the Beltway I thought I’d put a little flesh on the bones of what I’m griping about when I complain about taxes in Illinois. Per an analysis by WalletHub Illinoisans pay the highest state and local taxes of any state in the Union. Here’s the breakdown:

Effective state and local tax rates on median U. S. household 14.90%
Annual state and local tax rates on median U. S. household $8,653
% difference between state and U. S. average 38.51%
Annual state and local tax rates on median Illinois household $8,585

There’s really no contest. We’re the worst off by a considerable marginSure, Californians can complain about their state’s high income taxes and Washingtonians about their state’s high sales tax (however Seattle’s combined sales tax percent is 10.1% while Chicago’s is 10.25%, the highest of any major city). But when you tax Illinois’s high reatl estate tax, its high sales tax, and its increasingly high income tax, we are simply no longer a low tax state. That is in the past.

Illinois fares better in other analysis. Tax Foundation places us as seventh worst (right along with Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Alabama). Kiplinger says we’re one of the least “tax-friendly”. USA Today places us at 46th of 50 states.

Further, Illinois already has the lowest credit rating of any state right along with high liabilities and, as our high taxes and population outmigration tell us, we cannot dig our way out of the hole we’re in simply by raising taxes but that’s the only solution being proposed by Illinois’s politicians.

A more realistic solution requires something like shared sacrifice including higher taxes, reductions in pensions, and reductions in state payrolls. That would require multiple amendments to the state constitution and I doubt that we have it in us.

6 comments… add one
  • PD Shaw Link

    What do you think about the Better Government Association’s recent study:

    “[A] BGA analysis of the records shows that the big tax hike coincided with a steep drop in the number of low and modest income taxpayers, with the biggest impact Downstate and in some minority neighborhoods in Chicago.

    The federal records reveal robust growth in the numbers of Illinois tax filers with incomes of $100,000 or greater from 2011 through 2014 when lawmakers temporarily boosted the state’s flat income tax rate from 3% to 5%.”


    I’m skeptical that tax rate changes have much immediate impact over migration. I’m more curious about who is coming and who is going.

  • I’ve been saying that the decennial census would come as a shock to some people. I think that Chicago’s black population will be seen to have declined sharply.

    I’m more curious about who is coming and who is going.

    Or who are getting raises. I suspect that some of those “with incomes of $100,000 or greater” will turn out to be public employees whose raises have put them in that income bracket.

  • Guarneri Link

    I believe James was taking aim at me in observing that CA actually held relatively steady in population. Something about faulty or dishonest statistics. It’s shoddy analysis on his part. Out are going the taxpayers, in are coming the low taxpaying immigrants. Not good.

    As people should know, I distrust most academic studies. Too many axes to grind, and too,little integrity. But I live in two in migration areas. Primary research might help. Like what license plates do you see. Who are your neighbors. What do the real estate brokers observe. What do the newbies say. The notion that people are not fleeing from IL, NJ, NY, CT, MA is just absurd. And it’s the tax burden, and for those still working, the anti-business Environment.

    WRT IL -in addition to your statistics, the people who I know and are planning their exit are also observing what many people miss: the mess is just getting started. Those pensions and other spending plans will require large tax increases. Chew on this. I had a substantial house in Naperville. The Asheville house is worth about 2.5x. the Naples about 1.5x. Which has the highest property taxes? In round numbers they are all the same. Let that sink in. Where does it end?

  • steve Link

    Interesting that California is a much lower tax state than Texas. Kind of blows up that theory about taxes pushing people out of the state from CA to TX. Who would have guessed that Indiana is a high tax state, much higher than Massachusetts? Who would have guessed Iowa is worse than New Jersey? TBH, not me. Also interesting that the average red state isn’t much different than the average blue state, they just tax different things (and I suspect different people).

    Of course in conservative world the plural of anecdote is data. See above.

    Finally, PA isn’t that far behind you. With a little effort we could easily catch up. Highest gas tax in the country! We’re number one!


  • Guarneri Link

    I’ve seen the light. I guess all those people exiting are crazy or stupid.

  • steve Link

    Or cold. Seriously, what kind of jobs do all of these people have?


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