Editorials

Maybe rising national economy will mean Illinois job loss slows

Every neighboring state gained jobs between May 2012 and this May. Only Illinois lost jobs, with 89,512 fewer workers than five years earlier.
Every neighboring state gained jobs between May 2012 and this May. Only Illinois lost jobs, with 89,512 fewer workers than five years earlier. bweisenstein@bnd.com

Yes, Illinois state lawmakers increased your income taxes 32 percent starting July 1 — and that is a permanent increase, unlike the temporary hike from 2011 to 2014 that collected $32 billion to pay the state’s bill backlog and only reduced the pile by $1.5 billion.

They also tried their best to make our slow recovery from the recession even slower by telling businesses they need to pay a 7 percent corporate tax rate instead of the old 5.25 percent.

It is a Democratic fantasy that “businesses” pay taxes. Businesses pass along the costs of doing business, meaning taxpayers really pay those higher taxes through higher prices or reduced returns on their investments, including the investments supporting retirement funds.

But as a rising tide lifts all boats, there is some economic hope on the horizon.

First, President Trump is rolling back the Obama overtime rules that would have doubled overtime eligibility to those making up to $47,000 a year. Small businesses were especially hurt by the change.

Then came news that employers across the U.S. added 220,000 jobs in June. Also, the unemployment rate rose from 4.3 percent in May to 4.4 percent in June — normally bad news, except that it rose because more of our idled workers got back into the job hunt. The Dow, already in record territory, liked the news.

The latest Illinois unemployment numbers are for May and they were at 4.3 percent statewide as well as in the metro-east. Both improved about 1 percent in the past year.

Total employment in Illinois stood at 6.5 million in May, but that is 89,512 fewer jobs than May 2012. Illinois is the only loser in the Great Lakes region. All our neighbors put more people to work, with Indiana up 174,400 jobs and Missouri adding 62,015.

Illinois is likely to still lag our recovering neighbor states, but maybe as they improve a lot we won’t lose as quickly — no matter how hard Springfield tries to wreck things.

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