Illinois' negative signs are taxing

The Madison County Record Jan. 23, 2011, 8:26am

"Open for Business." "Visitors Welcome." "Free Admission." These are signs that commercial establishments use to invite the public in and encourage their patronage.

"Closed." "No Trespassing." "Keep Out!" These are signs that tell people their presence is not appreciated or desired and drive them away.

State governments may not post actual signs like these, but the policies they pursue indicate whether they are receptive or hostile to productive citizens and businesses. High tax rates are one of the most emphatic ways of saying "Keep Out!" An unfriendly legal environment is another bad sign. High crime rates, poor school systems, and deteriorating infrastructure also send negative signals to people in a given state, and to anyone thinking about relocating there.

Illinois is becoming notorious for its hostile business environment. Our state government has been posting "Keep Out!" signs for years now. Our representatives in Springfield seem determined to drive away as many businesses and citizens as they can through bad legislation and policies. As more unfriendly signs get posted, more citizens and businesses leave. If this keeps up, eventually, everyone will be gone and then the government won't have to worry anymore about us pesky citizens and business owners.

This is exactly the wrong thing to do. Nevertheless, it's exactly what keeps being done. The recent enormous increase in the personal and corporate tax rates, enacted on Jan. 12 by the lame duck Assembly and signed by our lame governor, is merely the latest example of suicidal folly.

Everyone in Illinois should be determined to arrest and reverse these destructive policies, especially Metro East residents. Where we live and work, it takes only minutes to cross the Mississippi River and enter a friendlier business environment. The exodus of citizens and businesses afflicting all of Illinois is particularly acute here, and bound to get worse.

This leaves only two choices. We can pack up and leave or we can start finding ways to put up friendlier signs.

While we're at it, we should put up a symbolic sign in future elections for those politicians who supported the recent monstrous tax increases: "Get Lost."

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