Fleeing Illinois is only option for many, Jameson says
Doug Jameson says for many of the people electing to flee Illinois the decision comes down to one of reason over emotion.
“In most cases, leaving isn't their preferred option,” Jameson told the Metro East Sun. “Instead, it is the only remaining option they have in their pursuit of greater opportunity and reduced tax burdens.”
Whatever the motivation, the result is likely to have a lasting effect on the state.
A recent Census Bureau study finds Illinois has now slipped to the nation’s sixth largest state, falling behind Pennsylvania as Illinois' out-migration shows few signs of abating.
In all, 33,700 people left Illinois during a yearlong period commencing in July 2016, and from July 2016 to July 2017, nearly 115,000 residents left the state on net for other states. Over the last seven years, that number swells to almost 643,000.
The Illinois Policy Institute reports the dip in numbers over the last year represents the worst decline of any other state and the third-worst decline across the country in terms of percentages.
Researchers also note that at a time when neighboring states are experiencing population growth, Illinois’ decline represents the fourth straight year the state has trended downward in that category.
“What makes this trend even more concerning is that millennials are leading the charge to the exit,” Jameson said. “The primary reasons for this out-migration are a lack of career opportunity, an oppressive tax environment and hundreds of billions of dollars in unfunded pension liability.”
Jameson said the litany of deeply-rooted concerns now plaguing the state lead back to Springfield, where he said a lack of leadership for nearly four decades has created the climate for such catastrophe.
“(House) Speaker (Mike) Madigan (D-Chicago) and his enablers created this mess and have been kicking the can down the road to force the hard decisions on future generations,” he said. “This has been going on for over 35 years and must stop now. Illinois' citizens are losing their confidence to enact change through the ballot box and are instead choosing to vote with their feet every day when they leave to seek opportunity in other states.”
As a residential and commercial real estate broker, Jameson, a Belleville Republican who is running for the seat held by Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea) in the 113th District, said for him the issue of out-migration has now become personal.
“My own brother is planning his exit for a state with lower taxes,” he said.
“I have witnessed countless people making the decision to leave the state," Jameson said. "The only hope for changing the state's trajectory is changing the state House leadership. Reforms must be instituted that make Illinois more attractive for job creators.”
The 113th House District includes all or parts of Belleville, Swansea, Fairview Heights, Washington Park, Fairmont City, Caseyville, Madison and Granite City.