By: Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner
Illinois politicians, from Gov. J.B. Pritzker to Mayor Lori Lightfoot, are counting on residents to stick around and pay the higher taxes both have planned. Pritzker is pushing a progressive income tax hike that will hit the wealthiest Illinoisans with a 60 percent tax increase, while Lightfoot is threatening every Chicagoan with a massive property tax hike if she can’t get a bevy of other tax increases passed.
Expect those lawmakers’ hopes to be dashed. According to migration data from the IRS, people of every sort are already leaving Illinois. Old and young, rich and poor, it doesn’t matter. Illinois has been a net loser of people to out-migration in every age and income group.
The detailed breakdown below shows just how pervasive Illinois’ loss of people is.
The 2012-2016 IRS data – 2016 is the latest year available – allows us to look at the in-migration and out-migration of Illinois tax filers. In every year and in every category, Illinois suffered net losses of tax filers vs. the rest of the country.
The data also includes filer income categories, ranging from“$25,000 and below” to “$200,000 and above.”
Over the whole 2012-2016 period, Illinois gained 466,000 tax filers from in-migration but lost 627,000 to out-migration. That’s a net loss of 161,000 filers. And when you include their dependents, Illinois lost more than 333,000 people to net out-migration.
In all, the state lost more than $18.5 billion in net AGI due to so many people leaving over those five years.
As we said at the start of this series, there’s no indicator quite as damning of a state’s failure to govern than the flight of its residents to other states.
In Illinois’ case, the state is doubly damned, as the numbers show there’s not a single group of people by age or income that the state attracts more than it repels.
All these numbers are indicative of the downward spiral Illinois is in. So far, the only “solutions” Springfield and City Hall seem to have are tax hikes. Expect that to make the above out-migration numbers worse.
Read more of Wirepoints’ series on out-migration: Illinois’ shrinking tax base