A new report from an economic research group highlights the increasingly high tax burden Illinois businesses are facing – a key factor in the continued push by Senate Republicans for pro-jobs and pro-economic reforms at the Statehouse.
Also during the week, a researcher from the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) says Illinois is different than other states in that most opioid-related deaths are being caused by heroin use, as opposed to prescription opioids. One statewide project is trying to help curb the opioid problem while Illinois is also implementing its Opioid Action Plan.
Report shows Illinois ranked well below neighboring states
A recent report from the Anderson Economic Group shows that Illinois is well below our neighboring states in business tax rankings, dropping three spots from a year before.
The report shows Illinois businesses have a total tax burden of 9.74 percent of their earnings after the cost of operating the business, but before taxes are withdrawn. The Anderson Economic Group says they “use taxes paid as share of profits, as this measure directly compares taxes paid to business income available to pay the tax.”
Of the states around Illinois, Missouri’s business tax burden ranks 8th, Iowa’s ranks 14th, Wisconsin’s ranks 13th, Michigan’s ranks 9th, Indiana’s ranks 7th, and Kentucky's ranks 31st.
It is important to note that Illinois' ranking is based on the latest fiscal year data available (Fiscal Year 2016), and does not reflect the increase in Illinois' corporate and personal income tax rates that took effect on July 1, 2017, as part of the Fiscal Year 2018 budget!
This report underscores the need for Illinois to pass measures that will grow the economy and make Illinois more attractive. We have pushed pro-growth, pro-job reforms at the Statehouse for years, only to have the majority legislative leaders stonewall most of our efforts.
Illinois researcher: Most opioid-related overdose deaths in state caused by heroin use
UIC researcher James Swartz says unlike other states, most overdoses and opioid-related deaths in Illinois are caused by heroin use, often in combination with potent synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl and carfentanyl.
“In states such as Tennessee or Ohio, it’s been more predominantly a problem of prescription opioids,” Swartz says. “But looking at the data in Illinois, it appears to be increasingly heroin/fentanyl.”
The UIC researcher is working with the Illinois Department of Human Services to gain a better understanding of the opioid crisis in Illinois. The goal is to reduce deaths from overdoses.
“Illinois Prevent Prescription Drug/Opioid Overdose Deaths” is one statewide project that is helping address the opioid crisis right now. This project has helped increase the availability of naloxone reversal kits and helped train people to use them in several counties where opioid overdoses have been high. The counties include Cook, DuPage, Lake, Madison, St. Clair, and Will.
Swartz’s research also comes as Illinois undertakes its Opioid Action Plan, developed last year in an effort to comprehensively address Illinois’ opioid epidemic. The Opioid Action Plan focuses on prevention, treatment and recovery, and response.
The state has also recently applied to the federal government, seeking to have the Affordable Care Act expand its coverage of opioid treatment and addiction for Illinois consumers who buy health insurance through the exchange.
Opioid overdoses have killed about 11,000 people since 2008 in Illinois. In 2016, more than 1,800 people died of overdoses – twice the amount of fatal car accidents.
Strong growing season for Illinois corn and soybeans so far
Corn and soybeans across Illinois are enjoying a strong growing season this year. According to the latest Crop Progress and Conditions Report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 81 percent of corn is considered in good to excellent condition right now. For soybeans, it’s 72 percent.
Those overall healthy numbers are up from where the crops were last year at this time. In 2017, 63 percent of corn and 66 percent of soybeans were considered in good or excellent condition by early July. The USDA also reports that the winter wheat harvest is 92 percent complete, compared to the five year average of 84 percent.
According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Illinois is a leading producer of soybeans and corn, ranking first in the nation with $180 billion in processed food sales. Marketing of Illinois’ agricultural commodities generates more than $19 billion annually.