Illinois State Government is a problem

Illinois State Government is a problem

Sofi Zeman, Features Editor

It’s been said before and sure to be said again: Illinois has one of the worst state governments in the United States. Here’s why.

     In most areas, Illinois can be deemed a relatively mediocre state. We’re ranked 32 in Healthcare, 20 in Education and 29 in Crime and Corrections. Not terribly embarrassing, but still not great. Statistics for The Land of Lincoln even take a positive turn when ranked 10 in Infrastructure and 19 in Opportunity. However, due to a shortage in employment and jobs, along with the issue of overcrowded prisons, Illinois’s economy is ranked 44 in the nation. Matters get even worse when government is brought into the discussion. That’s right, ladies and gents, our cow loving, corn growing, midwestern republic is ranked at a whopping 47 out of 50 in state government.

     A primary goal in the state of Illinois’s financial system is finding a solution to a seemingly inevitable “tax hike.” Various politicians credit this unfortunate circumstance to hard times and soft taxes. In order to balance state budget, many politicians sell the idea that raising the taxes significantly is the greatest and most influential course of action. They’re wrong. For the coming year, The Illinois Policy Institute devised a plan to alleviate $7.1 billion’s worth of the debt without having to bring taxes up.

     The plan begins with Property Tax. The first step is to cease payment of property tax altogether for a five year period. This, with time, will result in a tax based on an Illinois citizen’s average income rather than inflation. The second course of action is to set limitations on extravagant spending for unnecessary government projects. Giving local officials more authority over small-government spending is said to lessen weight of tax on the state’s residents as well.

    Changes in the pension situation need to be made for the good of the people. The young tax paying community is paying money towards a retirement program that will likely be unavailable for them come the time they leave the workforce. Combining state and local debt makes for $203 billion just for pensions and the health insurance of retired residents. The Institute’s most effective tackle on the situation is to stop funding the retirement of state universities or community colleges. By doing so, the state is given the opportunity to save over one billion dollars, some of which can be spent on state-wide pension and retirement funds.

     In order to gain perspective on a regional scale, the surrounding midwestern states neighboring Illinois are doing significantly better in regards to government. Indiana is currently ranked first in the nation. Missouri’s government- fourteenth. Our Wisconsinan neighbors to the North fill in the number 5 spot, making it clearly evident that the issue at hand can’t be traced back to “hard times,” but rather an ill-functioning state system.