Illinois ranked among least happy states


Illinois ranked in the bottom third for happiness, according to the latest Gallup poll that measured overall well-being in the country.

The poll ranked Illinois 37 in overall well-being and in the bottom five for residents liking where they live and having pride in their community.

Having pride in the state seems to be a sore spot for many residents.

“I think a lot of it has to do with the political climate and the tax climate,” Deputy State Director Andrew Nelms, with the Americans for Prosperity, said. “Beleaguered Illinois taxpayers are frustrated, and I do not blame them.”

Illinois residents pay the highest property taxes in the nation, face a 3.75 percent state income tax, a sales tax of 6.25 percent with localities able to add additional taxes, as well as a gasoline tax, cigarette tax and a sugary drink tax in parts of the state.

“We have almost every type of tax imaginable,” Nelms said. “We have one of the highest combined state and local sales tax rate of any state in the country, again on top of the highest property taxes in the country.”

The poll results are just another indication that lawmakers need to work on alleviating the tax burden.

“I think a lot of the onus is on our politicians, both at the local level and the state level,” Nelms said. “Politicians need to recognize that it’s their job to make things easier for their Illinois citizens and taxpayers.”

Nelms encouraged citizens not to give up and to be active in making Illinois a great state.

“Individual citizens need to make their frustrations known,” he said. “They need to contact their legislators; they need to contact their local elected officials because those office holders need to hear from us.”

The Gallup poll surveyed more than 177,000 adults living in the United States. Hawaii claimed the top spot in 2016 for the sixth time as the happiest state since the poll began in 2008.