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One-On-One With Gov. Pritzker About The Shrinking Population In Illinois

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People have been leaving Illinois for years – and it is costing us those of us left behind. CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov went one-on-one with Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday to talk about the big exit.

Video Transcript

- From job loss to population loss. People have been leaving Illinois for years, and it is costing the rest of us left behind. CBS2 political investigator Dana Kozlov went one-on-one with the governor today to talk about the big exodus, Dana.

DANA KOZLOV: Brad, Illinois numbers show it's actually been a bit of a population roller coaster in the state over the past decade. But when it really counted those numbers went down, and that happened on Governor JB Pritzker's watch. There's no question the past year has hurt Illinois and many who live here, but Governor JB Pritzker says there's light ahead.

JB PRITZKER: We are sending ourselves into a new year on firm fiscal footing.

DANA KOZLOV: But we're also starting the new decade with one less member of Congress, the result of the 2020 census, which showed Illinois lost more than 18,000 residents since 2010. The governor's take--

JB PRITZKER: We had our census count, and it came out flat for the last 10 years.

DANA KOZLOV: But we did lose enough population or enough residents to lose a member of Congress. I mean, that is concerning, is it not?

JB PRITZKER: It is. And so as you know, from the beginning of my time in government I started addressing that very issue.

DANA KOZLOV: Critics cite high taxes and a ballooning pension crisis as reasons people are leaving the state. Pritzker blames the anti-Illinois sentiment on conservative groups and lawmakers. But a study by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning shows exiting Illinoisans are moving to Wisconsin, Indiana, Florida, California, and Texas. Texas, which picked up two congressional seats.

JB PRITZKER: The reality is that we have a lot of work to do in the state of Illinois to get our budget in order, to make sure that we're paying our bills. We're making that progress.

DANA KOZLOV: Illinois is one of only three states to have lost population in this last census. The governor says he's put programs in place to reverse any exodus, including providing incentives for people to go to college here. Live in the Street Side Studio, Dana Kozlov, CBS2 News.