The video “Leaving Illinois” is embedded below this excerpt:
By Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner:
Don and Paula Parker aren’t your typical seniors. After living the last 20 years in Florida, they recently retired to Illinois.
The Parkers were born and raised in Rockford, Illinois. Don ran a house painting business in the Rockford area for many years while Paula worked in an unemployment office. In their late thirties they moved to northern Wisconsin, where Don was in law enforcement. And fifteen years later, they moved to Florida where Don was self-employed as a handyman and Paula worked full-time in health care.
When it was finally time to retire, they decided “to come home” to be nearer to family. In 2016, they left sunny Florida for a place in Poplar Grove, Illinois, just outside of Rockford.
Now, three years later, they’re experiencing buyer’s remorse. Not because of the weather, but because they don’t know if they can afford to stay in Illinois.
“We decided to move back. So I started researching, and I usually check things out pretty thoroughly. The only thing I didn’t do was check into the political factors in the state, and I wish I had. Because after being here for three years I now see that I would’ve never come back — never — with the political situation the way it is.”
“We’re getting by right now, kinda barely. But it seems like no one cares about people like us, seniors and lower-income people, when it comes to all these new taxes and rising fees.”
Don reached out after attending a townhall in Rockford where Wirepoints and the union-backed CTBA debated Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed progressive income tax. He was frustrated by the pro-tax arguments he kept hearing.
Read more: Wirepoints