Illinois Opportunity Project’s Statement on 2015 State of the State Address

“Today is a new beginning for Illinois,” Governor Rauner stated as he opened his first State of the State Address. The governor offered an honest assessment of the many challenges Illinois faces following 12 years of one-party rule. He then laid out his vision for a state that is both competitive and compassionate.

From 2003-2014 Illinois has reported the lowest levels of job creation in the Midwest. The average Illinois family has seen their household income decline since 1999. Government spending has increased 62% since 2003, while employment has flat-lined. Illinois’ debt and unfunded pension liabilities have grown every year for the past decade, even with the 2011 tax increase in place. And, over the past 10 years, Illinois has lost 250,000 more people than it has gained.

In calling for laws that bring about necessary and redemptive reforms to our education system, tax code and state labor laws, the governor offered an agenda that, properly implemented, will restore opportunity and prosperity in Illinois. The proposals Governor Rauner presented in today’s State of the State Address will be transformative for Illinois’ families and businesses.

At Illinois Opportunity Project, we share the Governor’s vision for an economy that works for everyone—not just special interest groups and the politicians they empower and influence. Illinoisans are asking for a chance at a quality of life that is comparable to that of our neighbors in the Midwest, and to know that the rules aren’t stacked against them.

Governor Rauner’s free-market ideology gives us hope that taxpayers and businesses will be treated fairly, instead of being penalized for lacking political influence, and that they will be rewarded for their hard work and personal responsibility.

Free market policies are the best route to improving Illinoisans’ quality of life. Reforms that, for example, empower state employees or put decisions over a child’s education into the hands of his family give people greater dominion over their own lives. In fact, developmental economists note that since 1970, over 80% of the world’s population has been lifted out of poverty as free enterprise concepts spread across the globe.

The old, broken, big government experiment has failed Illinoisans. We look forward to working with the Governor and principled legislators on advancing ideas that give everyone a chance to succeed and can truly bring about a “new beginning” for the people of Illinois.

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