‘Why would anyone want to live in Illinois?” So muses Curt Wooters, who works for the state and helps his dad run the family’s sporting-goods store in Findlay, 200 miles south of Chicago. Imagine California without the sunshine, New York without the cultural elan, New Jersey without Chris Christie. That’s Illinois.
Mr. Wooters has another five years before he can retire, but he’s advising his kids to leave the state after college. He’s also talked with his dad about closing their shop because it costs too much to run a business in Illinois these days. Plus, “the customers are leaving town.”
Now two downstate Republican lawmakers think that they’ve found a solution for Mr. Wooters and other disgruntled Illinoisans who want to escape but can’t: Cut off the pesky tail that’s wagging the dog—separate Chicago from the rest of the state.
That’s the legislative initiative of State Reps. Adam Brown and Bill Mitchell, who think politicians from the Windy City have blown the state too far left. “At every town-hall meeting I hear, ‘Can’t we separate from Chicago?'” says Mr. Mitchell.
Mr. Wooters knows several people who are leaving the state. His neighbors are moving to Kentucky, his best friend to Tennessee. Another friend, who owns a chain of agricultural-supply stores, has moved to Florida and is expanding operations in other states. Most of the state’s business class appears bearish about their own future. In a Chicago Tribune survey of 45 chief executives of large, publicly held Illinois businesses, only two said they expected the state’s economic condition to improve in the next year.
If you want to come to Tennessee, fine. Just don’t come here and then vote for the same policies, and clowns, that ruined the state you came from.