Mike Strick believes that Illinois needs to prevent people from leaving
In fact, almost 3,000 citizens left Chicago between 2014 and 2015, and more than 22,000 people left the state of Illinois at that same period.
Strick put the blame for the mass migration on the state of Springfield.
“That is amazing," he told the DuPage Policy Journal. "It goes to show how out of touch (House Speaker) Mike Madigan is of what’s going on in the state. It’s time for him to retire and let some new people come in there. But he wants to keep his political power going.”
Strick said he believes the mass exodus has only begun, but he offers a solution.
“It’s only going to get worse,” he said. “If we could put a freeze on property taxes, that would go a long way with helping the great people of Illinois to understand that, maybe, some changes are going to happen. Right now, I just don’t see it with all the unfunded liabilities that we have throughout the state. The only thing that is going to happen is that they’re going to have to increase property taxes.”
The people who decide to stay in Illinois will face the burden of paying the higher property taxes. It will get worse for them, Strick suggested, because they will have to pick up the slack left by people exiting the state.
Another out-migration the state faces is the lack of college students attending Illinois schools. Many are looking elsewhere for their higher education needs. Strick said he is not surprised by this.
“My son has friends who go to Mizzou (in) Missouri," he said. "He’s telling me that they are going to stay in Missouri because they can get what is called 'residence.' The tuition down there is almost $5,000 to $6,000 cheaper.”
Young college hopefuls prefer the lower tuition and cost of living in other states, and they may not return.
“They stay over there over the summer and work and change their licenses and everything else to be down in Missouri and then they get residence tuition,” Strick said. “We have this great mass exodus of college students leaving Illinois and you know what? They’re not going to come back. They’re not going to come back if they’re in a different state. I have friends that are looking at sending their kids to Ohio State, Penn State, and out of state. They’re not going to come to Illinois once they graduate.”
This exodus will be detrimental and Strick said something needs to be done, especially since the state pays its educators and administrators higher than average.
“We have to start thinking about keeping people in state and really look at the cost of these higher education universities are charging,” he said. “We have some of the highest paid administrators in nation. We have some of the highest paid teachers in the nation. And it has to translate to a higher class of education.”
Students not returning is bad for the future of the state, especially with regards to prospective employees and businesses. The state is already ranked third in the nation as the least business friendly and worst in the Midwest for businesses.
“It’s very unfriendly for businesses here,” Stick said. “My business property taxes are almost $18,000. Coupled with the umbrella insurances that I need, workers comp and liability, that is another $24,000 a year. It’s almost to the point, as a small business owner, when does it become feasible to keep going?”
Strick compared his business to larger manufacturing plants.
“I would be considered a micro business,” he said. “Just imagine having a manufacturing plant with hundreds of employees. It would be quadruple that. When does even become viable?”
This unfriendliness toward businesses has caused them to move to other states. This, coupled with the unemployment numbers being higher in April than in March, is contributing to the condition which Illinois is now experiencing.
“They’re (businesses) moving to Indiana or Wisconsin,” Strick said. “I was just reading an article today about how the president is going to be over in Indiana and they used to have 17.1 percent unemployment rate. And now Indiana has a 4.5 percent unemployment rate. So what does that tell you? It tells you a lot of businesses and people are leaving Illinois.”
Strick said people are aware of the problems Illinois faces. They are appalled. They are more receptive to term limits to restrict career politicians. Strick, who himself will limit his term to eight years if elected, said he believes people a ready or change.
“People are really receptive to term limits…because there is so much corruption and if we had term limits, corruption would disappear,” he said. “The other things people are really talking about are property taxes. It’s the only thing that they ever see going up. It’s not their paychecks, it’s their property taxes. We’re losing more and more people. I’ve talked to at least five people yesterday that said they had it with the state and they’re moving. It’s really not good.”
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