February 17, 2022

By: Katie Clancy

Governor Pritzker can’t attack Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Florida’s outstanding financial position, booming population growth, or educational achievements. So, he resorts to name-calling and labeling him with all the “phobics” and “isms” to distinguish himself from the popular governor from the sunshine state. 

Florida is thriving for all residents, meanwhile Illinois’ policies are hurting everyone, including its most vulnerable. So, would Illinois be better off if Gov. Pritker copied Gov. DeSantis’ policy agenda, instead of attacking him?

Let’s start with the basics. Florida has no income tax. Illinois has a flat tax of 4.95% and politicians want to change that and hike taxes on everyone through a graduated income tax. 

Florida families pay lower property taxes than Illinoisans who pay the second-highest in the nation behind only New Jersey. And remember, that is without an income tax.

In Florida, low taxes do not equal poorer quality of life. In fact, quite the opposite. In 2022, 52% of Florida students in grades 3-10 are performing at satisfactory levels or higher. In 2022, only 16% of Illinois students were reading at grade level with 15% at target or advanced levels in mathematics. 

DeSantis took an aggressive stance demanding all schools reopen in August 2020 amidst calls for extending shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Pritzker took a back seat when it came to reopening schools in Illinois and especially in Chicago when students and their families were held hostage by the powerful Chicago Teachers Union for almost two years. As a result (and preceding COVID), Illinois students are failing. 

Illinois families are desperate for a way out of the failing public education system. 

Desantis took historic measures in expanding school choice while in office. With his new legislation, the program will expand by 28,000 Floridian students each year. 

In Illinois, only 9,000 families are awarded this opportunity and the General Assembly is considering sunsetting the life changing program.  

Lastly, people are voting with their feet. 

Illinois lost 100,000 residents last year marking the 9th consecutive year of population loss in the state. On the other hand, Florida is the nation’s fastest growing state. 

When you can’t compete on merit, all you can do is resort to name calling. Pritzker can throw out his political jabs that garner fanfare from liberal elites in the Chicago media, but if he was serious about improving the lives of Illinois families, he would learn from DeSantis’ successes in Florida. 

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