Tax Freedom Day is the day when the nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay off its total tax bill for the year. Tax Freedom Day 2014 is three days later than last year. Americans had to work 111 days in 2014 to pay for the government, at all levels, this year. 30.2 percent of the wealth generated in the USA went to pay for the government.
If the government were performing remarkably well, this might not be so bad. But of course it is not. Government at all levels is extracting a lot of money. In Illinois, as pensions and interest payments expand, money to pay for necessary services continue to decline.
Author Joel Kotkin puts it well:
“[F]or people who run small businesses or earn a decent income, the tax bite is becoming ever more like in Europe, with total bills in high-tax states like ours reaching upward of 40 percent. It’s like paying the bill for a big dinner without eating the food – we get hammered like Swedes but without the free education, health care and other benefits of a more conventional welfare state.”
That sounds a lot like Illinois, Jimmy John Liautaud, founder of Jimmy John’s sandwich chain, is one of many moving out of Illinois for this very reason. “I really don’t mind the 5% (corporate) tax rate,” he said. “I just mind how they spend it.” State government has many responsibilities, and most people don’t object to paying reasonable taxes. But the politicians in Springfield keep asking for more and more money, services do not improve, and the most vulnerable people in our state suffer because of it.
We know what happens when we give Illinois state government more money, more power, and more control. It does not mean efficient service that benefits the people and is worth what we pay for it. Far from it. In this state, no matter how much money we turn over to the government it goes to things like public sector employee salaries, benefits and retirement pay, and various special deals for the well-connected. This has been proven over and over again. There is no excuse for thinking anything else will happen until fundamental changes are made.
Not surprisingly, the level of cynicism of Illinois citizens about state government is the highest in the nation. A recent Gallup survey showed the levels of trust that citizens had in their state governments. The highest rated state was North Dakota, at 77 percent. The lowest rated state was, not surprisingly, Illinois at 28 percent. The next lowest was Rhode Island, at 40 percent. Illinois is an extreme outlier in terms of citizen trust of their government. Even compared to the second worst state, Illinois’ rating drops like a rock, by 12 percent.
The worst thing is, the 28 percent of Illinois citizens who, for some reason, trust Illinois government are the ones who are mistaken. Based on the facts, the number should be zero.
The American people need to liberate themselves from the expanding scope and cost of government. This is especially true in Illinois. Allowing, year after year, a bigger and bigger bite to be taken out of the hard-earned money of Illinois taxpayers, shows we are on the wrong track.
The year that Tax Freedom Day becomes earlier instead of later will be a day to celebrate.
Stopping the Quinn and Madigan tax increases will be step in the right direction.