GOOD NEWS: New Head of HHS Was Responsible for Making Outrageous Government Shutdown Decisions

Guest post by Marguerite Bowling

President Obama’s pick to head the Department of Health and Human Services led the federal government’s response during last year’s “shutdown”—which included officials erecting barricades around open-air monuments.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell—who was deputy chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, among other roles—currently serves as Obama’s director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Obama formally announced today that he will nominate Burwell to replace outgoing HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, whose resignation went public yesterday.

“When the government was forced to shut down last October…Sylvia was a rock, a steady hand,” Obama said in a Rose Garden ceremony this morning. He repeatedly praised Sebelius for her leadership and noted that Burwell’s “prudent manager” skills would be needed for the “tough challenges” of running the nation’s health agency.

The government largely closed down after Congress failed to enact a continuing budget resolution providing funds for fiscal year 2014. During the 16-day shutdown, 800,000 federal workers were furloughed, the National Zoo’s “panda cam” went dark, and the National Park Service set up barriers to open-air monuments, citing security concerns.

Sebelius, widely blamed for the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s online health exchanges and other mishaps, said HHS was making “tremendous progress” to implement the health law known as Obamacare.

One more glitch plagued Sebelius, though, toward the end of her remarks. ”Unfortunately, a page is missing,” she said calmly, before ab-libbing the remainder.

She leaves after five years, despite saying only days earlier that she would stay with HHS through November.

Burwell said that she looks forward to further implementing Obamacare. Among lawmakers and pundits praising the nomination was Sen. John McCain (R–Ariz.), who said on Twitter: “Sylvia Burwell is an excellent choice to be the next #HHS Secretary.”

However, Burwell could be in for a tough confirmation process. Although she was easily confirmed by the Senate a year ago to head OMB by a vote of 96-0, this time — ahead of the mid-term elections – she could face resistance, as Politico reported.


Read more at The Foundry.

Doug Ross @ Journal

ILLINOIS JOB CREATORS HEAD FOR THE EXITS: High Tax Rates Crushing Employment and Investment

Guest post by Scott Reeder

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – One of my favorite books is John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath.”

In that epic tome, farmers from across Oklahoma load up all of their earthy goods on to Model T’s and flee the Dust Bowl for California in the midst of the Great Depression.

PACK IT UP: Illinois is among the biggest losers in out-migration due to its higher tax rates.

PACK IT UP: Illinois is among the biggest losers in out-migration due to its higher tax rates. A U-Haul rental from Chicago to Dallas costs $ 1,130, while the reverse trip costs $ 468.

It’s easy to see that great exodus along Route 66 as the face of migration from one state to another.

And to be sure that is one face of relocation.

Poor folks still load up dilapidated cars with what they own and seek out opportunity.

I saw it all the time when I was reporter in Las Vegas, families showing up with not much but their dreams and hopes of landing a well-paying job.

But that isn’t the only face of migration.

When corporate executives or well-heeled retirees move, it is done with professional movers.

You can often discern who the wealthiest of these households are by the amount of furniture and other belongings they have shipped.

The Wall Street Journal recently looked at data from Allied Van Lines concerning where wealthy households were moving to and from.

The report found that Illinois and Pennsylvania have more wealthy households leaving than arriving, and California leads the nation for the net number of wealthy households migrating away.

The states gaining the most? Florida and Texas.

So what do East Coast, Midwest and West Coast states like Pennsylvania, Illinois and California have in common?

All three are high-tax states, said Joseph Henchman, a vice president at the Tax Foundation. On the other hand, Florida and Texas are much lower tax states.

“Illinois is particularly vulnerable to more out-migration because its neighbors — Wisconsin and Indiana — are busy lowering their taxes,” Henchman added.

On the other hand, the Illinois Legislature jacked up our income taxes by 67 percent back in 2011.

This has hurt folks from all economic groups, and for folks who make their living making business decisions it has created one more incentive to leave Illinois.

While it’s easy to shrug off the rich guy across town leaving, there is good reason for all of us to be concerned.

Have you ever worked for a business person poorer than yourself? Me neither.

Even those working in the public sector need to remember where taxes come from to pay for their jobs.

And yet, Illinois is consistently pursuing policies that are pushing these job creators to more hospitable business climates.

Where those jobs go, poor and middle-class Illinoisans are sure to follow as well.

This migration translates into real money, according to Travis Brown, author of the book “How Money Walks,” a project that measures where people are moving based on tax returns.

“Illinois as a state lost $ 29.27 billion over the 18 years from 1992 to 2010,” Brown said.

During that period, only California and New York lost more income than Illinois, his study found.

“That’s a loss of $ 185,000 per hour. We forecast that between 2010 and 2014 Illinois lost somewhere between $ 5.4 and $ 7 billion in adjusted gross income due to migration,” Brown said.

Illinois is in that minority of states that continues to levy an estate tax.

Increasingly, estate planners are advising retired, successful Illinoisans to consider moving to a state without an estate tax so assets can be passed more easily from one generation to the next.

That hurts all of us.

When successful retirees leave, they are no longer spending money in the Land of Lincoln, paying taxes here or donating to Illinois charities.

That equates to fewer jobs for the rest of us and ultimately it’s why all of us should be concerned.

 
Scott Reeder is a veteran statehouse reporter and the journalist in residence at the Illinois Policy Institute. He can be reached at sreeder@illinoispolicy.org. Readers can subscribe to his free political newsletter by going toILNEWS.ORG or follow his work on Twitter @scottreeder.

Doug Ross @ Journal