Week-in-Review: July 9-13

A new report from an economic research group highlights the growing and high tax burden Illinois businesses are facing, ranking Illinois 35th in the country. The report is another example of why Senate Republicans are pushing pro-jobs and pro-economic reforms at the Statehouse.

Also this week, a researcher from the University of Illinois at Chicago says Illinois is different than other states in that most opioid-related deaths are being caused by heroin use, as opposed to prescription opioids. One statewide project is trying to help curb the opioid problem while Illinois is also implementing its Opioid Action Plan.

Report: Illinois near bottom in business tax ranking, even before tax increase went into effect

A recent report from the Anderson Economic Group shows Illinois ranks 35th in the country in business tax burden, up from 32nd a year before. The findings, however, were from the latest fiscal year data available, 2016, which came before the corporate and personal income tax rates were increased in 2017.

The report shows Illinois businesses have a total tax burden of 9.74 percent of their earnings after the cost of operating the business but before taxes are withdrawn. The Anderson Economic Group says they “use taxes paid as share of profits, as this measure directly compares taxes paid to business income available to pay the tax.” 

Of the states around Illinois, Missouri’s business tax burden ranks 8th, Iowa’s ranks 14th, Wisconsin’s ranks 13th, Michigan’s ranks 9th, Indiana’s ranks 7th, and Kentucky ranks 31st.

Senate Republicans say this report underscores the need for Illinois to pass measures that will grow the economy and make Illinois more attractive. They have pushed pro-growth, pro-job reforms at the Statehouse for years, only to have the Democrat majority stonewall most efforts.

Illinois researcher: Most opioid-related overdose deaths in state caused by heroin use

A researcher from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) says unlike other states, most overdoses and opioid-related deaths in Illinois are caused by heroin use. James Swartz says it is also often in combination of potent synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl and carfentanyl.

“In states such as Tennessee or Ohio, it’s been more predominantly a problem of prescription opioids,” Swartz says. “But looking at the data in Illinois, it appears to be increasingly heroin/fentanyl.”

The UIC researcher is working with the Illinois Department of Human Services to gain a better understanding of the opioid crisis in Illinois. The goal is to reduce deaths from overdoses.

“Illinois Prevent Prescription Drug/Opioid Overdose Deaths” is one statewide project that is helping address the opioid crisis right now.  This project has helped increase the availability of naloxone reversal kits and helped trained people to use them in several counties where opioid overdoses have been high. The counties include Cook, DuPage, Lake, Madison, St. Clair, and Will.

Swartz’s research also comes as Illinois undertakes its Opioid Action Plan, developed last year in an effort to comprehensively address Illinois’ opioid epidemic. The Opioid Action Plan focuses on prevention, treatment and recovery, and response.

The state has also recently applied to the federal government, seeking to have the Affordable Care Act expand its coverage of opioid treatment and addiction for Illinois consumers who buy health insurance through the exchange.

Opioid overdoses have killed about 11,000 people since 2008 in Illinois. In 2016, more than 1,800 people died of overdoses – twice the amount of fatal car accidents.

Strong growing season for Illinois corn and soybeans so far

Corn and soybeans across Illinois are enjoying a strong growing season this year thanks to Mother Nature. According to the latest Crop Progress and Conditions Report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 81 percent of corn is considered in good to excellent condition right now. For soybeans, it’s 72 percent.

Those overall healthy numbers are up from where the crops were last year at this time. In 2017, 63 percent of corn and 66 percent of soybeans were considered in good or excellent condition by early July.

The USDA also reports that the winter wheat harvest is 92 percent complete, compared to the five year average of 84 percent.

According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Illinois is a leading producer of soybeans and corn, ranking first in the nation with $180 billion in processed food sales. Marketing of Illinois’ agricultural commodities generates more than $19 billion annually.

Dave Syverson

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