How will the Illinois legislature, controlled by Mike Madigan, ever vote in favor of splitting the state?

The U.S. Constitution says that to form a new state from an existing state, the new state needs the consent of the existing state’s legislature (Article IV, Sec. 3). How will it ever be possible to get the Illinois legislature, controlled by Mike Madigan, to vote in favor of splitting the state?

A:

Some of the problems we face today could be seen as solutions to this obstacle; that is, they can provide us with leverage to negotiate a split.

Insurrection

  • Becoming a sanctuary state put Illinois in rebellion to the federal government and the U.S. Constitution (Article VI, Sec. 2).

Incompetence

  • a failed state that does not provide its citizens with representative government
  • a corrupt state that works in the best interests of insiders
  • a lawless state that violates its own constitution by not having a balanced budget
  • an oppressive state imposing high taxes but with the worst financial health of all 50 states

Insolvency

  • Illinois is in a state of financial crisis with $130 billion in pension debt, $75 billion in retiree healthcare debt, plus billions in unpaid bills.
  • State government continues to kick the can down the road.

These factors make the case that our state has lost the right to govern us, because it has not fulfilled its side of the bargain. Any of these factors could bring about a situation similar to what happened in West Virginia in 1861. When Virginia voted for secession, a new state was formed by counties remaining loyal to the Union, and the federal government recognized the new state.

 

Glenn Harlan Reynolds, professor at University of Tennessee Knoxville College of Law, believes that in the case of financial breakdown, the federal government might be able to promote a split in exchange for a financial bailout. Looking at the debt in terms of per person GDP, the New Illinois share would be about 15% lower than that of Old Illinois. Finance expert Chriss Street believes that in a financial breakdown, New Illinois could negotiate its way to a split by increasing its share of the debt—essentially buying its way out (as Vermont did to leave New York). This could be done safely because, with a lower tax and regulatory burden, the new state would experience strong economic growth.