By Barbara Hollingsworth
Roger Keats, a former Illinois state senator and Cook County Board president, is packing up and leaving the Land of Lincoln for good. The 62-year-old Keats was a good government reformer who helped clean up the rampant corruption in the Chicago-area courts uncovered by Operations Greylord and Gambat.
But now he’s throwing in the towel, and he and his wife are heading for Texas. “I am tired of subsidizing crooks,” Keats told the Wilmette Beacon.
In “Good Bye and Good Luck,” a letter to all the friends and political supporters he’s leaving behind after 60 years, Keats says he is leaving what he calls “the most corrupt big city…and most corrupt state in America” with “a heavy heart.”
“But enough is enough!” he writes. “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.”
Indeed, Illinois’ most populous county, Cook, actually lost population between 2000 and 2010. The state is losing another seat in the next Congress.
And that’s not the only sign of serious, and possibly irreversible, decline.
“Illinois just sold still more bonds and our credit rating is so bad we pay higher interest rates than junk bonds! Junk Bonds!” Keats points out.
“Illinois is ranked 50th for fiscal policy; 47th in job creation; first in unfunded pension liabilities; second largest budget deficit; first in failing schools; first in bonded indebtedness; highest sales tax in the nation; most judges indicted; and five of our last nine elected governors have been indicted. That is more than the other 49 states added together!…
“We are moving to Texas where there is no income tax while Illinois’ just went up 67%. Texas’ sales tax is half of ours, which is the highest in the nation. Southern states are supportive of job producers, taxpayers and folks who offer opportunities to their residents. Illinois shakes them down for every penny that can be extorted from them.”
As a recent study by Americans for Tax Reform found, migration from high-tax states like Illinois to states with lower taxes and less government spending like Texas will dramatically alter the composition of future Congresses as more and more Americans, like the Keatses, vote with their feet.