Back in 2011, Gov. Quinn came to DC and sat down with our Congressional delegation. Over the course of that hour, he talked about how wonderful things were going in Illinois. I remember leaving that meeting with a Democrat colleague of mine, shaking our heads at how utterly out of touch Gov. Quinn seemed. The same thought went through my head as I listened to Quinn deliver the State of the State address yesterday.
We’re the least credit worthy state in the country. We have the highest unfunded pension liability in the country. Our unemployment rate is 8.7% — near the highest in the nation. We’re so far in debt that we can’t pay our bills. Taxpayers and companies are leaving Illinois at a faster pace than any other state in the country. Our GDP ranks 45th nationally, and even before the 2011 income tax hike, Illinois had the ninth highest overall tax burden nationwide.
To repeat, individuals and companies are flying out of this state — permanently — faster than out of any other state in this country … and this governor spends an hour talking about guns and gay marriage. Then, beyond belief, he proposes to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour, which will only drive more companies and jobs out of Illinois.
It’s very sad that our governor is so out of touch, but in truth, he’s not all that relevant here. One party runs this state, and one man, Mike Madigan, runs that party. That fact won’t change until there is an actual Republican party in this state that makes its case for freedom and limited government. It must fight like heck to win people over to that case. For too long, the Democrats and Michael Madigan have allowed Illinois to become the least business-friendly, most in debt, and most corrupt state in the country. For too long, Republicans have been afraid to stand for anything and have been perfectly willing to accept whatever crumbs Madigan and the Democrats would give them.
That has to change or Illinois will never recover.