FORBES: The Democratic Governors Association, in an attempt to attack Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) tweeted this week about how 33,000 people left Illinois for another state over the past year, continuing years of outmigration from the Land of Lincoln.
With that tweet, the DGA is trying to make the public dumber. The DGA knows full well that Gov. Bruce Rauner doesn’t run his state. That would be House Speaker Mike Madigan (D), who has presided over the decline of a once great state during his 34 years as Speaker. By attempting to pin Illinois’ continued decline on Gov. Rauner, the DGA is either ignorant about how Illinois politics works, or they are lying. Most likely the latter, but either way it’s not good.
The DGA wants to talk about the 33,000 people who have fled Speaker Mike Madigan’s Illinois over the last year. What they won’t be touting is the fact that during the administration of Gov. Pat Quinn (D), Rauner’s predecessor, 247,410 people on net left Illinois for the likes of North Carolina, Texas, Florida, Arizona, and other states that are better stewards of taxpayer dollars. Those 247,410 people who left during Gov. Quinn’s time in office, according to IRS migration data, took $13.7 billion with them to states that that are better run and have lower taxes.
The DGA really doesn’t want to dive into interstate migration data, as it does not reflect well on their most prominent governors. Let’s start by looking at what has happened in California since Jerry Brown became governor again in January of 2011.
Since Gov. Brown was sworn in, becoming the oldest governor in state history, 243,099 people have fled California on net for other states, taking $7.794 billion with them to states that don’t have such high taxes and onerous regulations that make housing unaffordable for middle class households. The top recipients of Golden State refugees last year were Texas and Nevada, two states that have zero income tax. California, meanwhile, levies the highest top marginal income tax rate in the nation. Policy, like elections, has consequences.
The personal and corporate income tax hikes championed by Gov. Brown in 2012 have likely helped exacerbate the exodus of Californians. In a move that will further drive up the cost of living in one of the hardest states in which to get by, Gov. Brown approved an extension of the state cap & trade program earlier this year. This will hurt low and middle income households the hardest, who will face what is effectively a regressive tax hike in the form of higher gas prices and utility bills.
Cap & trade makes Gov. Brown, Democratic lawmakers who run the state legislature with such large majorities they don’t even feel the need to discipline sexual offenders in their caucus, and their supporters feel good about themselves. But the program doesn’t improve the environment. In fact, California, even with its cap & trade program and renewable energy mandate, is home to 8 of the 10 cities with the nation’s worst air pollution.