Bailey decries continuing exodus from state, cites taxes as cause
As Illinois continues to lose residents, state Rep.-elect Darren Bailey says he always feared that things would come to this.
“Out on the campaign trail, I was telling people this was what’s happening, and clearly not enough people were listening,” Bailey told the SE Illinois News. “Now we have the hard numbers to back it up, and it’s every bit as bad as we as Republicans have been saying it is."
Recently released Census Bureau data reveal that a record-setting 45,616 people fled the state in 2018, leaving Illinois as the only state in the Midwest to experience population decline this year. Just as alarming, the mass exodus marks the fifth straight year the state lost population.
Having lost nearly 1.5 million residents since the turn of the new millennium, Illinois has slipped to the sixth-largest state in the country, with an overall population pegged at just under 13 million.
“You can correlate that trend of declining population with Democrats being in control of the state for the last 40 years,” added Bailey, a Republican from Xenia elected last month to the Illinois House of Representatives representing the 109th District. “I think voters need to wake up and start getting more involved in order for leadership to start making the kind of changes that are desperately needed.”
With the state in such dire straits, Bailey said, he thinks many voters also fear facing what they might have to sacrifice in order for things to get back on course.
“I think that’s why Democrats did as well as they did in the general election,” he said. “People fear the thought of sacrifice, and Democrats went around making them all these promises.”
Bailey added the bitter irony is if party leaders are able to do half the things they’ve promised voters they will, the situation will only get worse.
“Everything they’ve talked about doing will require higher taxes and end in even more debt,” he said.
The 109th House District includes all or part of Clay, Edwards, Effingham, Jasper, Lawrence, Richland, Wabash, Wayne and White counties.