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:

According to Jones’ travel vouchers obtained by Illinois Review, in a little over a year, Mr. Jones has traveled to Washington, DC (twice), San Francisco, London, Rome, Ireland, Atlanta, Montreal, Las Vegas (twice) and Barcelona. Nice work if you can get it....We have no doubt Mr. Jones conducted some business while away on the taxpayers’ dime, but the troubling words “personal time” keep popping up on his travel vouchers while he was in places such as London and Rome.

Aside from their economic woes come their cultural failings. Until a Court forced its hand, Illinois was the only state in the Union that did not allow for the concealed carry of firearms with a CCW permit. It took a recent decision by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to change that stance. Ruling that Illinois can not deny residents an opportunity for a CCW license, the Court questioned the state's rationale:

Illinois had to provide us with more than merely a rational basis for believing that its uniquely sweeping ban is justified by an increase in public safety. It has failed to meet this burden.

A law for obtaining a CCW has to be in place by June of 2013 (180 days after the December, 2012 decision.) No doubt, the state's elected officials will do everything in their power to make the process of obtaining a CCW - allowing residents to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights - as complex and convoluted as possible.

Take a look at Illinois' elected officials, who blatantly exploit their positions. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, former henchman to President Obama, recently sent a letter to major bank officials asking them to stop providing lines of credit to gun manufacturers. Illinois has a series of gun manufacturers in the state, including Armalite.

According to web sources, Armalite employees 50-200 people, and has sales of over $13 million per year. How long will they stay, given elected officials want to employ economic tyranny against them? The same kind of economic tyranny that Bank of America attempted on American Spirit Arms when they stopped providing their merchant services, or in April 2012, when they ended their business relationship with McMillian Firearms Manufacturing.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said that gun control is not a "constitutional issue." Speaking at California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein's press conference on annihilating the 2nd Amendment (wait...it wasn't about annihilating the 2nd Amendment? Really?) he stated:

This just isn’t a matter of an issue of the Constitution, it’s an issue of conscience, an issue of conscience

It was former Rep. Phil Hare (D-IL 17) who, when asked in 2010 about Obamacare and its potential constitutionality, said, "I don't worry about the Constitution on this." Responding that the Supreme Court can rule on its consitutionality is one thing. Not worrying about the Constitution is something horrifically different, considering that every elected official takes an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

And consider President Obama himself, a product of the Chicago way. The US Court of Appeals ruled his ploy to expand recess powers was unconstitutional. On the debt limit, he (with support from perennial lapdog Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)) sought ways to raise the limit without Congress. He has discussed about how he would like to "go it alone" on immigration reform, lamenting that it's not the way our "messy" democracy work. Translation: The Constitution is getting in the way.

The Land of Lincoln is dominated by elected officials of personal ambition, duplicitous morals and constitution-shredding agendas. Everyday, another story emerges that shamefully pushes Illinois further down the food chain, joining California on the sea floor.


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 TonyKatz.com.