Settlers came to Texas for the hope of a better life and more freedom, often posting the now-famous signs on their door “Gone to Texas”. Many came almost 200 years ago to escape their heavy debt after the Panic of 1819.

Today, people are moving not because of debt they have incurred but because of the debt their state and local governments have incurred. One noteworthy couple will soon be leaving Illinois for Texas. Roger and Tina Keats have been very active in the community and in state politics, but they say enough is enough.

We have the disadvantage of knowing too much, Tina said. During the last election I would talk to people about the states pension liability and the budget deficit and they wouldnt know what I was talking about. Where does it stop? I dont know. Even states like California and New York know they have to do something to get their house in order. This state has not accepted that.

Roger, a former Illinois state senator with a record of fighting corruption in government, said in a letter to friends, “But it is time to go where there is honest, competent and cost effective government. We have chosen to vote with our feet and our wallets.” His letter also pointed to the 67 percent increase in income taxes recently ratified, high sales and property taxes, and the mammoth unfunded pension liability.

The Texas House will debate the appropriations bill this weekend and, along with it, the economic future of our state. Perhaps this is a good time to remember why people are moving their businesses and their families to our state. It is a good time to remember why one-fifth of the jobs created in the nation were created in Texas. Why even with all the growth in population, the unemployment rate is lower than the national average. “Gone to Texas” could have been posted on hundreds of thousands of doors as people from across the nation have voted with their feet in favor of low taxes, jobs, and liberty.

-Arlene Wohlgemuth