Lee County Board Vice Chair John Nicholson doesn’t need economic downturns uncovered in a Commission on Government and Accountability (COGFA) report that tell him what he’s already experienced.
“The state of Illinois is driving businesses out of the state,” Nicholson told the NW Illinois News. “I am an older guy and I’m just retiring because of some of the things happening. I’m retiring from my own business.”
COGFA numbers from August showed income tax revenues across the state fell by some $48 million and cigarette tax revenue was down by about $17 million compared to the same time last year.
While overall sales tax numbers and corporate income taxes were up, Nicholson said he thinks one thing remains clear about the status of the state economy.
“We’re heading in the wrong direction,” he said. “Everything, like the $15 per hour minimum wage hike, makes it tough for businesses.”
In all, sales tax cash flows in August climbed $26 million over last year’s pace, helping local governments offset some of the dips felt in other areas.
The COGFA report was released on Sept. 4, with freshmen state Rep. Andrew Chesney (R-Freeport) making it a point of posting the findings on his website.
In the August 2019 report, COGFA staffers also used section of their report to speculate on the impact the current U.S. Federal Reserve turn towards lower interest rates is having on the bottom line, “with an analysis of the ability of this trend to spur new housing purchases, encourage refinancing transactions on existing properties, and create improved cash flow for Illinois households,” Chesney's posting on the report states.
Chesney’s 89th District includes all of Jo Daviess and Stephenson counties as well as parts of Ogle, Carroll, Winnebago and Whiteside counties.