Jason Plummer said Illinois' mass exodus is fueled more by maintaining political power than by making difficult, long-term policy decisions that would keep and attract people to Illinois.
The former lieutenant governor candidate now seeking a seat in the 54th Senate District since Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) announced he will not seek re-election, told the Metro East Sun the state has failed to provide an economic environment that offers growth and opportunity, instead it has implemented fiscal and regulatory policies that drive up taxes, kill quality jobs and send potential employers to neighboring states.
"In the category of business friendliness, a ranking by CNBC this year gave Illinois 47th place among the 50 states," Plummer said. "Illinois has great, hardworking people, abundant resources and wonderful assets. We should be an economic leader, but failed leadership and poor public policy over many years is destroying our great state.
The Edwardsville Republican said the people of Illinois want to stay by their families and in their communities, but are now slowly being priced out of their homes because of absurdly high property taxes.
"They watch as businesses, unable to compete, shut down and move to neighboring states," Plummer said, adding when quality jobs exit towns it is replaced by an inflow of drugs, crime and social decay. "Young people and families starting out who want to stay in Illinois are forced to seek opportunity elsewhere, where there is not a punitive tax and regulatory climate that discourages work and investment."
If elected, the GOP business man and Navy Reserves intelligence officer said he would help Illinois out of the perilous position it is in. "I have spent my career creating quality jobs in southern Illinois and I know what it takes to attract business and growth to our state," Plummer said.
Advancing legislation that will cap and reduce the property taxes, reverse income tax increases, reform workers' compensation and tort laws and reduce spending is how he will do it, he said.
"I will also be focused on working directly with state agencies to make needed changes to the regulatory system and coordinating with local units of government within the district to address their needs from the state," Plummer said.
Fairness and stability must occur to keep residents in the state, he said.
"This situation is not going to change overnight, but if we could roll back the massive new tax hike and reduce and cap out of control property taxes, families would have an easier time with their budget," Plummer said. "If we could fight lawsuit abuse and reform our broken workers' compensation system, we could better compete with our neighbors."
Transparency is also key to keeping Illinoisans home, he said..
"Currently, House Speaker (Mike) Madigan (D-Chicago) and Senate President (John) Cullerton (D-Chicago), and a select few others ultimately determine what the state's budget will look like in meetings where they are unaccountable to any public scrutiny," Plummer said. "The General Assembly does not follow the Open Meetings Act, does not respond to Freedom of Information requests, and stages elaborate ploys to avoid accountability from the people."