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Blaser: Hey, United Van, take Springfield with you

Randy Blaser

Randy Blaser

State Rep. Michael McAuliffe, R-20th, who represents Chicago’s far Northwest Side and nearby suburbs, posted an interesting link on his Facebook page the other day to a report from United Van Lines that shows Illinois is second in the nation in the number of people getting the heck out of the state.

But that isn’t all. Illinois has been No. 2 in this study for three of the past four years. In 2011 we topped New Jersey, this year’s leader, as they most desirable state to be from.

Could it be true?

Illinois is like New Jersey? More people want to get out of Illinois than any other place in America except New Jersey? Can’t Michael Madigan block a bridge somewhere?

But United Van Lines is just a moving company, and one of many moving companies. Maybe the stats are skewed. Many people moving into Illinois opt to use U-Haul.

Unfortunately, the U.S. government confirms what the moving company knows to be true. A lot of people are leaving the Land of Lincoln.

According to the census bureau, nearly 278,000 people got out of Illinois in 2012. More than 208,000 people moved into Illinois for a net loss of 70,000 people in one year. I’m no expert by any means, but even I know this can’t be good.

Where do they go? Obviously, California, Texas and Florida are the most popular destinations for people to get out.

But consider this. When factoring out the movement between states, Illinois lost 8,000 residents to Wisconsin, 11,000 to Indiana and 9,000 to Missouri. That’s right, some 28,000 of the 70,000 choosing to get out of Dodge, so to speak, or 40 percent of our losses in 2012, moved across the border.

Last I heard, these border states aren’t retirement destinations.

Why would so many people be leaving?

Could high taxes have anything to do with it? How about corrupt government?

How about just plain opportunity and quality of life?

A study released last July by CNN showed that the unemployment rate in Illinois was 9.2 percent. That’s pretty high, but not the highest in the U.S. At least we beat Nevada.

Looking ahead, a report by the PEW Charitable trust estimated that job growth in Illinois for 2014 will be the worst in the nation, at .98 percent. That translates into an estimated 56,996 new jobs for Illinois this year. Should we hope for more people to get out?

I don’t know about you, but as a lifelong resident of Illinois, and as someone who loves his home state and hometown, this just isn’t good enough.

I don’t like hanging around with New Jersey and Nevada. I don’t like people fleeing the state for greener pastures. I don’t picture greener pastures as Wisconsin, Indiana and Missouri.

But I have a solution.

Hire United Van Lines to back up one of their trucks to Springfield, load up the Capitol Building starting with Mike Madigan’s office, and get him and the cadre of clowns running this state into the ground out of here.

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