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National Editorial & Columnists

Change or face dim future

A poll that ranks Illinois as one of the least desirable locales for military retirees stings.

Local military families do appreciate our friendliness, but other factors are a drag on the state. This poll should help jolt leaders into doing something about the complaints. Obviously, some things like the weather can't be changed, but they can address other concerns high on the list, like high taxes and a lack of jobs.

Heard those complaints before? These are issues not only for military retirees but for many businesses and individuals. Illinois has the second highest property taxes in the nation, and some of the highest sales taxes.

Politicians think it's no big deal to add to them – the cost of a pizza or a night out at the movies, we're told. But as this poll reminds us, taxes are a big deal, indeed. They are especially noticed by people who have lived in other places and know this isn't the norm.

High taxes are part of the reason that Illinois has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. Businesses don't want to locate here. When a business has to cut costs, it reorganizes and consolidates.

Illinois leaders have not had the political will to streamline the state's 7,000 units of government. Consolidation would reduce the costs of such a fragmented system. Until Illinois finds ways to cut costs and operate more efficiently, the state is going to remain at or near the bottom of everyone's list.

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