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Survey: Illinois Voters 'Angry' About State's Fiscal Problems, Mismanagement

Daisy Contreras
NPR Illinois
AARP Illinois conducted a statewide survey which showed Illinois registered voters are "angry" about the state's fiscal issues.

The Illinois Capitol breathed a sigh of relief this summer when Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democratic-controlled legislature agreed on a state budget. But most Illinois voters say they’re not sure the deal will solve the state’s $1.2 billion deficit and other fiscal woes. That’s according to a new survey of registered voters conducted by AARP Illinois.

When asked about how angry they felt about the state's fiscal issues, two-thirds of voters ranked their anger at 4 or 5 -- with a 5 rating representing "extremely angry". The July study took responses from 1, 202 registered voters 25 and older.

Joe Woodward, an AARP volunteer from Springfield, said the survey results show the unsatisfaction in government, despite voter age. "[Voters] realize their taxes have already risen and know more is coming unless politicians put their constituents first and make the difficult political decisions needed to put Illinois on a path to restored fiscal health," he said.

Forty-nine percent of respondents say they've considered leaving the state, while 73 percent say they've heard someone they know talk about leaving, the poll showed. The top three reasons cited for leaving the state were high taxes, government mismanagement and the high cost of living, Woodward said. 

Six in 10 of those surveyed say they support a graduated income tax as a way to solve Illinois' fiscal problems. Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B Pritzker has suggested just that. But he has refused to say what the new tax rates should be. Rauner, the Republican incumbent supports keeping Illinois’ current flat tax.

Editor's note: AARP Illinois is a sponsor of NPR Illinois and the station's Illinois Issues forums.

Daisy reported on statehouse issues for our Illinois Issues project. She's a Public Affairs Reporting program graduate from the University of Illinois Springfield. She also graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology, and has an associates degrees from Truman College. Daisy is from Chicago where she attended Lane Tech High School.
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