O'Fallon Progress

Letter to the Editor — Rolling on out of Illinois’ tax hell

Joe Newman runs a trucking business that hauls away liquid hazardous waste. He is in Illinois because it is close to his customers and close to the wash-out facility his tankers need.

He invested in his business in October 2014, building his facility in Fairmont City. He pays his drivers from $50,000 to $80,000, has a 401(k) retirement fund and solid health insurance.

But his trucks can roll and he could easily move a few miles and save big bucks that he said he would spend on adding workers. His workers compensation costs would be $200,000 less in Indiana and much less in Missouri, too.

Bob Stock owns a trucking company in Lebanon and he, too, pays big for workers comp, tallying $400,000 for 70 drivers. That’s the same amount he pays for health insurance for them.

You’d think Illinois learned its lesson when Rod Blagojevich was governor and jacked up truck licensing fees. So many trucking companies left the state that the boost in fees collected was much less than the total loss of trucks and companies. Newman now pays $2,200 per truck.

All these issues came to the fore again recently as Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner again made the point that you can’t tax your way out of the deficit hole Illinois has created. Taxes drive away business.

You’ve got to fix the business climate so companies want to be here and grow jobs and grow the number of workers sharing the tax burden. Grow the economy, not taxes.

Otherwise, the only trucking companies with a future are those that specialize in moving working families to other states.