Iowa and Illinois. The two states are close on the map, but on opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to budgets.
Iowa is figuring out how its going to spend its surplus, while Illinois is trying to dig itself out of debt.
Now, an idea out of Iowa’s General Assembly could separate each state’s money situation even further.
Iowa’s $800 million budget surplus could mean more money in the pockets of taxpayers. A proposal from Iowa House and Senate Republican leaders on Thursday, January 24th would give a $750 tax credit to every Iowa household.
“That would be nice,” said Jamie Franklin, who works at Downtown Central Perk in Davenport. “I would probably go ahead and save it for my kid’s daycare expenses that are going to be coming up for preschool.”
“It’s a stimulus,” says Attorney John Molyneaux, who lives and practices in Davenport. “You can use it for everything… from bills that need to be paid to maybe taking a long weekend to Chicago.
“Illinois is in a lot worse shape than we are,” added Molyneaux. “It might help their economy.”
In fact, Illinois’s budget deficit is reportedly one of the worst in the nation. Its pension system is underfunded by more than $90 billion, plus the state is $8 billion behind in unpaid bills.
For Nicholas Babeau, who lives in Moline, Iowa’s situation makes Illinois’ even more frustrating.
“We just need people in politics that actually care about solving these problems, getting everything in order with taxes, budgeting, and all of that so that hopefully in the near future we could get a $750 check in the mail,” says Babeau.
Babeau says he’s considered moving to Iowa and he’s not the only one. Theo Grevas, who owns Theo’s Java Club in Rock Island, says he knows a lot of people who have thought of making a state switch.
“A lot of people who were born and raised here are frustrated,” says Grevas. “For the first time in our lives, we really are thinking about moving out of this state and I think that’s terrible that we have to think like that now.”
Iowa Senate Democrats say that they’re open to talking about the Republicans’ proposal, but they’re not entirely on board with the idea.
Many say they would rather have the surplus go to a combination of things, including infrastructure improvements, updating education, income tax credits for lower-income families, and the state’s savings.