Tony Katz

Living in California, it is difficult to find fault with other states. California has 12% of the US population, but over 30% of the nation's welfare recipients. California recently voted to increase the tax burden - actually, some non-tax paying Californians decided to raise taxes on other tax paying Californians - on both individuals and corporations. California is the land of job killing Cap And Trade. It is the land of corruption, so ingrained it's generational, political and moral graf.

Illinois is closing in fast.

Standard & Poors recently lowered Illinois' credit rating from A to A-, which puts it in a tie with California as the lowest-rated state. Illinois' pension obligations are massive, and only 39% funded. The state has $97 billion in unfunded mandates, with $17 million added every day.

According to Bloomberg News, Illinois owes an additional $9 billion to creditors. A planned sale of $500 million in general obligation securities (bonds) may not help their credit woes. Moody's is considering a credit downgrade as well.

Add to this Illinois raising their personal income tax rate to 5%, which was voted on in 2011. The tax hike is scheduled to sunset in 2015, returning to 3%. Anyone taking odds on whether those tax increases are extended? Anyone? Bueller?

Despite their economic problems, Illinois officials still find ways to fleece the citizens all they can. Lottery official Mike Jones took an all expenses paid trip to London to partake in a conference to talk about ways to market the lottery more effectively. Jones, according to sources, has taken a few other trips as well:

Tony Katz

Tony Katz is a radio talk show host, writer, public speaker and cigar enthusiast. His show can be heard on 93.1FM WIBC in Indianapolis, and at