How can that be. After all, Illinois is bigger than Indiana. The nation’s third (used to be second) largest city is in Illinois. More Fortune 500 companies are in the Chicago area than Illinois. Illinois is the nation’s transportation hub, home to great universities, a couple of national laboratories and two major league teams.
Yet it’s true as it is surprising. As the Illinois Policy Institute reports:
For nearly five decades, Illinois issued more permits for single-family homes than Indiana – with a blip in 1980 when Indiana built more homes. That was to be expected because Illinois has nearly double the population.
But the situation flipped in 2009, and during the past decade Indiana issued 30,508 more home permits than Illinois.
As the Institute said in a press release:
What’s to blame for so few new homes in Illinois? One of the biggest factors is sky-high property tax bills, two major income tax hikes during the past decade and working-age population loss that has caused demand for Illinois homes – and therefore housing prices – to remain weak.
Property taxes are a significant pain point in Illinois, where homeowners suffer the second-highest tax bills in the country. Unfortunately, Illinois politicians have for years failed to confront the root cause of tax increases: Pension costs.
Yet, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the toady legislature continues to do nothing about pensions. What they ought to do is pair a constitutional amendment that would open the door to pension reform with the planned referendum question on a graduated income tax.
Trade unions suffer the most from this significant construction failure. Maybe they should ask they brothers and sisters in the government employee unions about solidarity.
My historical novel: Madness: The War of 1812
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