Illinois while geographically firmly planted in the middle of the country is actually an island in the middle of the Sea of Economic Woes, surrounded on all four sides by prosperous states that have broken free of the landmass that was once Illinois, orphaning Illinois to sink or swim on its own merits.
Wisconsin is rebating part of its budget surplus back to taxpayers in the form of property tax relief, while Illinois is seriously contemplating a tax increase disguised as tax fairness by floating a progressive income tax and further tax burdens on businesses and the possibility of increases in sales taxes.
Indiana and Ohio have also recorded budget surpluses after cutting taxes. Unemployment rates are down in both states while Illinois' rate of unemployment is tied with Nevada's as the nation's second highest behind Rhode Island's.
Michigan was devastated by the collapse of the auto industry and near death of Detroit but has managed to reduce its unemployment figure from 11 percent to a still-high 7.8 percent but nonetheless trending in the right direction.
"Strengthen the middle class," is the mantra being espoused by Gov. Quinn. "Looking out for the common man," is another platitude that marks the populist rhetoric of the governor.
Tax increases, while claiming to be targeted to make the rich "pay their fair share" impact every taxpayer in the state. A tax increase will exacerbate the continued flight of jobs from the "Island of Illinois" to the open arms of firmly rooted states that will willingly import them from across the Sea of Economic Woes.
Democrat concern for the middle class has a funny way of manifesting itself. Gov. Quinn is a decent man, an honest man. Those are commendable qualities, especially in a politician. But they aren't enough to row Illinois back from the exile of economic woes.