It kinda hurts writing that headline. But, it’s true. I’m leaving Chicago for what I hope are greener pastures. I have mixed emotions about it but also feel the change is long overdue.
The tldr version of everything below is that I’m tired of Illinois’ multiple levels of corrupt government (here and here are the latest examples) and their out of control spending. People here scream for change but vote the same people into office time and time again. The people of Chicago and Illinois used to be salt of the Earth moderate Midwestern people. Now we’re a tax happy, SJW safe space, that has no tolerance for people that don’t think as they do. Since my vote won’t count to change anything the only thing I have left is to vote with my feet. At least any money going forward will not go to bankrupt governments.
No matter where I go when people ask me where I’m from I proudly say Chicago. Even in Europe where many people don’t know exactly where Chicago is I would still say it so I could explain the Midwest. Well, no more. I’m not that proud anymore. Where I’m going may end up not being any better. But, at least I’ll enjoy a lower cost of living.
I was born in Chicago in the mid 1960s and grew up in the Logan Square neighborhood. I lived there until I turned 18. Got married, moved to the suburbs, bought a house, had children, and lived a pretty good life. For 32 years I’ve lived in the same location. A location I love. Over those decades I paid my taxes and voted. I voted for people who I thought would keep the state in good shape. I voted for some Democrats but mostly Republicans. But as Chicago seized more and more control over the state each year things became progressively worse.
Over the years I watched the places of my past get torn down and replaced by strip malls, fru fru coffee shops, and condo complexes. The people also changed. Gone were the gritty city types and in moved the hipsters. I thought the yuppies were bad back in the day but they were nothing compared to these hipsters. They turned Chicago neighborhoods, that had character into any other neighborhood in the country. It was sort of like being in a theme park where all the rides are the same. Brooklyn, Austin, San Francisco, and Chicago. It is getting difficult to tell things apart.
The State of Illinois was always in need of Chicago. It has always been the economic powerhouse of the state. But, Chicago still had to compromise with the people downstate. Chicago didn’t always get its way. Power in state government became concentrated with politicians from Chicago. So much so we are the point now in Illinois where Chicago runs everything. How else do you think J.B. Pritzker became our governor?
This Democrat billionaire outspent the Republican billionaire by labeling him a right-wing extremist in lock-step with Donald Trump. Anyone that has ever taken a good look at Bruce Rauner can’t possibly see a right-wing extremist in lock step with Trump. If anything Rauner was a light weight Republican. He didn’t have the stones, on a daily basis, to call out the crooks currently running the state. How else do we end up with a governor that abused the property tax system to save $330,000.00 on a property he owns. None of the regular people get this kind of break.
The State of Illinois has been run by one political party. There are no dissenting voices. Only rubber stamps. There is a looming public employee pension debt of around $150 billion for the state. The local governments inside Cook County, the county in which I live, also have a public employee pension debt of around $150 billion. I guess those teachers’ strikes kind of add up over the decades don’t they (and somehow see themselves as non-essential during COVID-19). There have been lame attempts to try to fix the problem. None work because the numbskulls put public employee pensions in the state’s constitution. Every time laws are passed to fix things the laws get over turned at the state Supreme Court.
The public scream for things to change. But they continue to vote the same people into office. What is happening now is a push to increase the income tax rate for the state. Well, the proposal is a graduated tax but in the proposal the General Assembly will be able to raise the rates without any further voter input. And if you think they won’t raise them I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn. After the Year of COVID-19 other taxes and fees will have to increase because God forbid the government start cutting their expenses.
Where I’m moving the property taxes are 1/3 what I pay in Illinois and the house is larger, newer, and with more land. My house in Illinois is worth a little over twice what I paid back in 1988. But my property taxes have increased 350% during that time! 350%!!!!
Chicago used to be the city of big shoulders. Now its the city of narrow minds. The State of Illinois used to be a moderate middle of the road Midwestern state. Now it’s a far left social justice warrior “safe space.”
I love my house. I love the location. I especially love a good Chicago winter. But I no longer like the people or the politics. I can’t stand insufferable busy bodies who live by the mantra, “better safe than sorry.” That is no way to live.
Yes, I’m leaving Chicago and Illinois, but honestly, the city and state left me decades ago. I won’t let the state’s crushing debt hit me on the way out.