The Rockford Files

Oh I Wish I Was in Dixie

For a native son of the Midwest who has sympathized with the Southern states in the War of Northern Aggression for as far back as he can remember, I can see why some Southerners might find a certain justice in the impending fiscal collapse of the state that launched Abraham Lincoln, coming as it has at the start of the 150th anniversary of the Late Unpleasantness.

And I might even agree, had my family and I not moved to Illinois a little over 15 years ago.  Instead, I am left with a bitter taste in my mouth and a sense of foreboding for my family and for the hometown that we have adopted.

On January 12, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law a tax hike of 66 percent on personal income (from a 3-percent flat rate to 5 percent) and 45 percent on corporate income (from 4.8 percent to 7 percent).  The vote on the tax increases ran along party lines; not a single Republican in the Illinois legislature voted in favor of the new tax rates.

National coverage of the tax hikes varied in quality: The Christian Science Monitor blew the story, claiming that “Even with the 2011 adjustments, Illinois would have one of the lowest tax rates in the nation,” though the reporter must have suspected something was wrong, since he added that “the rates across the US are hard to pin down because most states, such as Iowa, have up to nine different tax rates for personal income.”

The Wall Street Journal,...

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