Illinois Tax Increase Welcome in Wisconsin

Many Illinois lawmakers say that following the state’s 32 percent income tax increase, neighboring states will try and recruit Illinois businesses and taxpayers. But one Illinois lawmaker on the Wisconsin border says recruiting won’t even be necessary.

State Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, said communities in southern Wisconsin don’t need billboards or ad campaigns to lure Illinois taxpayers and businesses over the border.

“Wisconsin doesn’t really have to [recruit], we do a good enough of shooting ourselves in the foot,” Sosnowski said.

Higher taxes, such as last week’s 32 percent state income tax increase, are driving people out of Illinois.

And he’s right. Illinois’ population has declined each of the past three years, and it lost more people than any other state in the U.S. between July 2015 and July 2016, according to the U.S. Census. At the same time, Chicago lost more people last year than any other major U.S. city.

Southern Wisconsin State Rep. Todd Novak said lower taxes and more job opportunities are driving Illinoisans to Wisconsin.

“I am seeing an influx of people who are looking to move into Wisconsin,” Novak said. “Out here we have one of the lowest unemployment rates in Wisconsin. So you can easily find a job, and a pretty good-paying job.”

The unemployment rate in Winnebago County, Illinois, Sosnowski’s district, is 6.4 percent. Lafayette County, Wisconsin, Novak’s district, has a 2.2 percent jobless rate.

Novak says there are 100,000 jobs open in Wisconsin. He says Illinois’ economic refugees are welcome to apply.