The number of Illinoisans enrolled in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, remained above 2 million in September. This is the 12th month in a row enrollment has remained above 2 million people.
That means one-sixth of Illinoisans have spent more than a year relying on government handouts for their next meal.
And it should be no surprise that so many Illinoisans are on food stamps when the state is clearly better at enrolling citizens in government programs than it is at encouraging job creation.
Illinois has 5.8 million nonfarm payroll jobs today, only 9,500 more than it did in September 2003. Over the same period, food stamp enrollment doubled from 1 million to more than 2 million Illinoisans.
Illinois is not on the path to economic prosperity. Putting more and more Illinoisans onto food stamps is not a solution to the state’s poor job situation.
Illinois needs jobs, but the failed policies the state has been following for the past decade are stifling entrepreneurship and holding back job creation.
The state can enact pro-growth and pro-job policies by lowering its corporate income tax rate to encourage business investment, reducing onerous and costly regulations that stifle entrepreneurship and passing labor reforms to make Illinois a more attractive businesses destination.
Enacting these polices would eventually allow Illinoisans to once again provide for themselves rather than depending on a government handout.
John Klingner is Public Policy Research Assistant at the Illinois Policy Institute