Illinois ranks 31st in first-quarter job growth
Mark Batinick is doing everything he can to remain positive about the news that Illinois ranked in the bottom half of the U.S. for job growth over the first quarter of the year.
“Considering everything that’s going on at the Capital, the numbers are actually better than what I would have expected," the longtime Republican state representative from the 97th District told Will County Gazette. “In this state, we’ve got to stop treating job creators like dirt.”
Batinick argues that the consequences of such treatment are many. Besides ranking only 31st in total employment growth from December 2018 to March 2019, with a net loss of 2,800 jobs last month alone, the state’s problems are exacerbated by an outmigration crisis that has seen population drop for six straight years.
According to Illinois Policy Institute (IPI), the exodus has been led most recently by prime working-age residents between 25 to 54. The state’s current economic stagnation, which has raised the local unemployment rate to 4.4 percent, comes after things got off to a booming start to kick off the year. But with the threat of yet another tax increase looming in the form of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s progressive tax proposal, things could get worse before they get better.
“We’re headed in the opposite direction,” Batinick said. “Tax increases won’t be good for this state or the voters. But I expect that Democrats will eventually have the votes to put this progressive tax on the ballot.”
Like Batinick, IPI thinks more tax increases are the wrong way to go.
“Illinois state lawmakers have the opportunity to put the state on a path toward a more prosperous future through policy reform,” the organization posted on its website. “One clear mistake, given the resident exodus, would be scrapping Illinois’ constitutionally protected flat income tax. Pritzker’s progressive income tax rate proposal would raise taxes on small businesses, subjecting them to one of the highest tax rates in the nation. That will make it harder for struggling Illinoisans to find a job and result in even more workers leaving Illinois."