Don’t Mess with Texas

Texas. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that in 2014 the Texas economy grew by a sizzling 5.2%. That’s second only to North Dakota (6.3%). Texas is creating large numbers of jobs and unemployment (4.3%) is below the national average. Texas is now America’s top technology exporter. In short, Texas is in the business of creating wealth for all. Not redistributing what is there.  Governor Greg Abbott has just signed into law tax cuts amounting to $4 billion. 

And then we have Illinois.  The worst bond rating of the 50 states.  The highest pension deficit of the 50 states ($111 billion).  Massive budget deficits.  Jobs leaving Illinois at the rate of 1,000 per day.  Citizens moving away.  Chicago’s population is today less than it was in 1920.  Up until last November’s election, Illinois had the worst Governor in the 50 states (Pat Quinn) according to the Wall Street Journal.  The state is run by unions and Speaker Mike Madigan — a man who should probably be in prison for what he has done to the State.   Unlike Texas – where citizens are getting a tax break – Illinois taxes are going up on the diminishing number of taxpayers who are footing the bill.   The new Governor – Rauner – is trying to improve things but the unions and Mike Madigan refuse to cooperate.  They insist on killing Illinois once and for all.     

All Noise

Kevin Peraino’s recent book Lincoln in the World has a wonderful quote on page 44: 

The curmudgeonly former president [John Quincy Adams, then serving in the House of Representatives] had little patience for the rowdy new brand of expansionism embodied in ‘Mr. Polk’s War.’  In the House chamber one day, legislators cheerfully debated among themselves about the correct pronunciation of the word ‘Illinois.’  Overhearing the conversation, Adams snapped that judging ‘from the character of the representatives in this congress from that state, I should decide unhesitatingly that the proper pronunciation was ‘All Noise.'” 

Things have not changed much since JQ’s time.  Today, Illinois is dead last of all states in recovering from the Great Recession.  Illinois has the worst unfunded pension debt ($110 billion) of any state.  The worst S&P bond rating of any state ($187 billion shortfall).  The highest borrowing cost of any state.  The most unpaid bills.  The only state – with California – that gets an “F” for being business friendly.  It has among the highest state taxes (which are going up).  Jobs are leaving Illinois at the rate of a thousand a day.  Businesses are leaving in droves.  As are citizens.  Food stamp growth has outpaced new jobs 2 to 1 in the last four years.  Chicago’s population today is less than it was in 1920.  Regulations are suffocating and inconsistent.  The State has been run by a buffoon and some hoodlums.  On Election Day, a new Governor was elected.  A glimmer of hope for Illinois?  Not if Mike Madigan can help it. . . .


“F” is for “Fireworks”

Every Independence Day, I am embarrassed that Illinois is one of the few states in the Union that disallows any and all kinds of fireworks for private use. This Fourth of July I heard a few neighborhood “pops.”  And saw a few puffs of light.   And I can just imagine police SWAT teams barreling down on the offenders.

I continue to believe that people of Illinois should descend on Springfield and demand equality for buying and using fireworks. As I reported earlier (10/10/12; 10/15/12; and 10/30/13), many kids – like me – grew up with fireworks.  And it was a hoot.  Don’t give me the “oooh oooh – you can get hurt” business.  It does not happen.  And you know it.  Your child has a greater chance of being seriously injured playing soccer than by a firework. 

And while we’re in Springfield asking those who run this state for equality for buying, selling and using fireworks – we might create some fireworks of our own demanding honest government and fiscal responsibility.  Illinois has the worst credit rating in the nation.  And according to a new and Kaufmann Foundation survey, Illinois is the worst for business (okay, California tied us).  Illinois got an “F.”  Companies are leaving in droves to the tune of 1,000+ jobs a day.  Illinois is one of the most heavily-taxed states.   Yet new taxes, fines, regulations and penalties appear daily.  Did you know Chicago’s population today is less than it was in 1920?  Illinois leadership has ruined our State.   Yet they keep getting voted in.  Who votes for these people?  How’s that for a segue?