Illinois residents paying more taxes for fewer services
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[May 12, 2014]
SPRINGFIELD — If you only look at the
government spending you can see, such as roads and school buildings,
Illinois taxpayers would appear to get an OK return on their
|BIG GOVERNMENT: Illinois' high taxes and big government put
it in the middle of Wallethub's survey
But it's the spending you don't see that has taxpayers paying more and more
for less and less.
A new survey by WalletHub.com ranks Illinois 39th in the nation in return on
investment for government spending.
"Illinois is 47 when it comes to tax rates. It has some of the highest state
and local tax rates in the country," WalletHub.com's CEO Odysseas
Papadimitriou told Illinois Watchdog. "But when you look at the government
services, Illinois ranks 28."
WalletHub ranks states based on the quality of roads and bridges, the rank
of each state's schools, the number of hospitals and the cost of medical
care, the violent crime rate, the unemployment rate, and the state's
Illinois is not in the top five in any category, but is only in the bottom
five for having poor water quality.
"Those (categories) we feel are the primary responsibilities for each
state," Papadimitriou said. "To provide good infrastructure, good education,
good health system, safety for its residents, a low level of pollution and a
But by looking only at those measures, Wallethub ignores some significant
problems for Illinois.
The state has the third-worst unemployment rate in the nation, but Wallethub
offset Illinois' 8.4 percent unemployment rate by considering the average
cost of living, the number of people who have left the state and economic
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Wallethub also ignores Illinois' massive debt — both the state's
$130 billion pension debt and the $6 billion in unpaid bills
currently sitting at the state Capitol.
"The pension obligation debt is eight times all the bond debt for
building roads and schools and everything else," said Bob Williams,
president of State Budget Solutions. "Essentially, the state has
been living on credit cards."
Wallethub doesn't factor in any of the costs of debt, either at
the state or local level.
Williams said that debt must be counted to know the true cost of
government, as most taxpayers are paying for a lot more government
than they ever see.
He said those who work for or depend on the government get a
fantastic return on investment. The rest of Illinois' taxpayers
"Not only do you (not get a return), you are expected to pay for the
cost of that public employee," Williams said.
Wallethub, unsurprisingly, ranks the energy boom states in the
northern Plains as the best for return on investment and a handful
of states in the South as the worst.
article courtesy of
Contact Benjamin Yount at
Ben@IllinoisWatchdog.org and find
him on Twitter: @BenYount.
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