According to George Mason University’s Mercatus Center’s latest “Freedom in the 50 States” study, Illinois is one of the nation’s least free states and is losing citizens at one of the highest rates.
The study measures economic and personal freedom, using criteria such as tax rates, government spending, debt, regulatory burdens, land use, union organizing, gun control, school choice, and many more. Illinois is right at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to regulatory policy, is dead last with regard to personal freedom, and just below middle of the pack on fiscal policy. Government spending in Illinois continues to increase faster than the national average, public employee retirement is reaching a crisis situation, and Illinois’ biggest fiscal problem is its debt. State and local debt make up 25.1 percent of personal income.
Illinois has the third highest minimum wage in the country, the quality of its court system is way below average, and our state’s gun control laws are the sixth most restrictive. The study clearly shows that Americans are voting with their feet and migrating to more free states, and migrating out of less free states, such as Illinois. Illinois net migration rate is -5.2%, right near the top when it comes to losing people.
Illinois will continue to lose people at a dangerous rate until it becomes a more free state to live in, raise a family in, and grow a business in. We will continue losing people at an alarming rate unless we do something about our debt.