Senator calls Illinois tax increase a 'welcome to Michigan' sign
Michigan Sen. Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) isn't shy about applauding Illinois' latest tax hike.
Shirkey told radio station WRFH co-host Scot Bertram that his colleagues were “working as we speak to lure business from Illinois.”
WRFH is the student radio station at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan.
Illinois House officials voted to join the Senate in overriding Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a tax measure that will raise the personal state income tax rate to 4.95 percent from 3.75 and the corporate tax to 7 percent from 5.25 percent, bringing in an additional $5 billion in revenue.
The state has ended a two-year plus budget impasse that has left it with approximately $15 billion in unpaid bills.
Bertram, a former longtime Illinois resident, said taxpayers have paid mightily for what he sees as legislators simply kicking the can down the road.
“It’s obvious to me without reforms to fundamentally change things, the tax hikes are just giving politicians more money to spend,” Bertram told the Sangamon Sun. “It’s not going to change the long-term trajectory of state. The first thing my wife said to me after the vote was she’s glad we got out when we did.”
In Bertram’s view, the state's biggest issues lie in its unfunded pension liabilities.
“Until the state gets that under control, you’re going to see the same tax hikes happening over and over again,” he said. “Being a longtime resident in Illinois, I don’t know if you really internalize just how different things like property taxes are in other states.”
Bertram said his family now resides in Michigan in a house twice the size of what he had in Illinois, on twice the land.
“All that and we pay 50 percent less in property taxes,” he said. “It’s realities like this that explain why the state is still experiencing a population drain.”
Representatives in Shirkey’s office declined to comment.