If you ever wanted a textbook example of why the Democratic Party should be consigned to permanent minority status in America, you need look no further than my former home state, Illinois. I was born in Chicago, but like many who grew up in the "Land of Lincoln" I finally had enough of the corrupt government unions, the out or control spending, crushing taxes, violent crime, and the infringements on personal liberty, So in 1995 I left. And millions more have left since.
Yet the corrupt Democratic Machine rolls along unscathed. When Rahm Emanuel, President Obama's former personal thug, declared that he would be the Democratic candidate for Mayor of Chicago, the outcome of the election was virtually a foregone conclusion.
Despite decades of social welfare policies that have destroyed the black family structure, I knew that Chicago's African-American population would dutifully line up and vote 98% for "the Democrat" - as they nearly always do. The government unions, especially the teachers and the infamous SEIU, would do the same. And I had no doubt that within half an hour of Emanuel's announcement, Democrat Party apparatchiks would be filling out stacks of ballots for him in dusty back rooms across the city - long before election day.
Last year, Republican Roger Keats ran for President of the Cook County Board - no surprise, he lost. For him, it was the last straw, and he sums up Chicago's problems, and his reasons for leaving, in a public letter which follows:
GOOD BYE AND GOOD LUCK
As we leave Illinois for good, I wanted to say goodbye to my friends and wish all of you well. I am a lifelong son of the heartland and proud of it. After 60 years, I leave Illinois with a heavy heart. BUT enough is enough! The leaders of Illinois refuse to see we can't continue going in the direction we are and expect people who have options to stay here. I remember when Illinois had 25 congressmen. In 2012 we will have 18. Compared to the rest of the country we have lost 1/4rd of our population. Don't blame the weather, because I love 4 seasons.
Illinois is ranked 50th for fiscal policy; 47th in job creation; 1st in unfunded pension liabilities; 2nd largest budget deficit; 1st in failing schools; 1st in bonded indebtedness; highest sales tax in the nation; most judges indicted (Operations Greylord and Gambat); and 5 of our last 9 elected number of governors have been indicted. That is more than the other 49 states put together! Then add 32 Chicago Aldermen and (according to the Chicago Tribune) over 1000 state and municipal employees indicted. The corruption tax is a real cost of doing business. We are the butt of jokes for stand up comics.
We live in the most corrupt big city, in the most corrupt big county in the most corrupt state in America. I am sick and tired of subsidizing crooks. A day rarely passes without an article about the corruption and incompetence. Chicago even got caught rigging the tests to hire police and fire! Our Crook County CORPORATE property tax system is intentionally corrupt. The Democrat State Chairman who is also the Speaker of the Illinois House and the most senior alderman in Chicago each make well over a million dollars a year putting the fix in for their client's tax assessments.
We are moving to Texas where there is no income tax while Illinois' just went up 67%. Texas' sales tax is ½ of ours, which is the highest in the nation. Southern states are supportive of job producers, tax payers and folks who offer opportunities to their residents. Illinois shakes them down for every penny that can be extorted from them.
In the Hill Country of Texas (near Austin and San Antonio) we bought a gracious home on almost 2 acres with a swimming pool. I is new, cost us around 40% of what our home in Wilmette just sold for, and the property taxes are a third of what they are here. Crook County's property tax system is a disaster: Wilmette homes near ours sell for 50% more and their property taxes are ½ of ours. Our assessed home value was 50% higher than the sales price. The system is unfair and incompetent.
Our home value is down 40%, our property taxes are up 20% and our local schools have still another referendum on the ballot to increase taxes over 20% in one year. I could go on, but enough is enough. I feel as if we are standing on the deck of the Titanic and I can see the icebergs right in front of us. I will miss our friends a great deal. I have called Illinois home for essentially my entire life. But it is time to go where there is honest, competent and cost effective government. We have chosen to vote with our feet and our wallets. My best to all of you and Good luck!
Like California, Illinois has for decades been under the thumb of Democrat majorities. And at the national level, President Obama and the Democrat party show no signs of abandoning the same kinds of reckless and irresponsible policies that have caused financial carnage across the country. From the housing crisis to our disastrous lack of a coherent energy strategy, to debt so massive that our great-grand-children will be still be paying for it, the nation can no longer afford today's Democrat party.
The cost will simply be too great.