The ordinarily friendly rivalry between Illinois and Wisconsin has become more politically bitter of late in light of several factors:
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, faces a possible recall in an election slated for early June, while Illinois faces greater fiscal challenges under Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat.
Yet, while unemployment remains higher in Illinois than in Wisconsin, overall economic trends are more positive in the Land of Lincoln, as we see HERE:
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker opened and closed last week speaking in Illinois about how his budgeting in his state — including killing public unions’ right to collective bargaining — has helped his state more than the Democrats’ approach in Illinois.
Illinois’ Gov. Pat Quinn, who raised the state’s personal and corporate income tax rates to plug the state’s budget holes, responded Friday, “Since the recovery began, we’ve created 142,000 private-sector jobs. Wisconsin has created none. They’re dead-last. Whatever they’re doing up there is not working for the economy.”
From February of last year to February of this year, Wisconsin has lost 16,000 jobs while Illinois has gained 37,000 jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Quinn inherited a state with the worst deficit in the country when it comes to funding state pensions and it retains that dubious dishonor. But a far-reaching plan Quinn introduced Friday with bipartisan support would fix that if it can pass court challenges.
Walker has slammed Quinn and the Democratic legislative leadership in Illinois for hiking the state’s personal income tax in Illinois from 3 percent to 5 percent and the corporate tax rate from 4.8 percent to 7 percent.
Walker said in Springfield on Tuesday and in Chicago Friday that businesses will keep fleeing Illinois for Wisconsin as long as taxes here keep going up.
But even with the hikes, Illinois’ corporate taxes are lower than Wisconsin’s 7.9 percent rate. And personal income taxes are lower in Illinois for business owners. Wisconsin has a progressive income tax ranging from 4.6 to 7.5 percent. Only the poorest Dairy State residents pay less than their Illinois counterparts.
HERE‘s how the editorial board of the Rockford Register Star sees it:
Walker has tried to capitalize on the tax increase Illinois placed on its residents and businesses last year. It’s true Illinois has the second-highest corporate income tax of neighboring states and fifth-highest in the nation at 9.5 percent, but that doesn’t tell the entire tax story.
A 2011 study by New York-based Ernst & Young LLP shows that when all taxes are figured in, Illinois has one of the lowest overall effective tax rates in the country.
The Tax Foundation, which describes itself as a nonpartisan educational organization, ranks Illinois 28th for business-friendly tax environments. Wisconsin is 43rd.
Illinois grew its exports by nearly 30 percent in 2011 — nearly double the national average. Wisconsin’s exports only grew 11 percent.
By cutting the Earned Income Tax Credit, Walker raised taxes on low-wage workers with young children. Quinn doubled this same tax credit this year, providing more tax relief to working families.
Walker’s budget increases state spending by over $1 billion, which is primarily paid for by tax increases on seniors, families with children, and homeowners. His budget calls for raising property taxes by nearly $500 billion.