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Illinois ranks low as governments go. Foreclosures are 1 sign

There is a lot to love about living in Illinois. And many in Chicago and the surrounding environs are proud to call the region home. But few would argue that life in the Land of Lincoln is all that it could be. Taxes are high. The cost of living can be high, too. Those things, and other issues combined mean the state gets a rather big black eye in one group's analysis of how well the state is run.

According to a survey conducted by 24/7 Wall St., Illinois ranks 49 out of the 50 states in this race. For the sixth year running, this organization has attempted to gauge how the state is run by looking at a number of different data points. These include certain financial ratios, and statistics related to economic and social standards.

By comparing such things as debt per capita, a state's credit rating from the leading rating agencies, unemployment, poverty rates and median household incomes, analysts find that North Dakota comes in at no. 1. Oil is the big reason for the showing. The boom in shale oil production and mining have driven economic growth. Unemployment is the lowest in the nation and population growth is up 6.6 percent.

Illinois comes is only ranked better than New Mexico for how well it runs. Analysts note that it collects some of the highest state and local taxes of any other state at more than $3,000 per capita. And the housing market continues to suffer. The survey finds one in 73 housing units are in some stage of foreclosure. And since 2010, home prices have dropped more than 10 percent.

It's one thing to talk about all this at the government level, but where it really matters is at the personal level. Bankruptcy, foreclosure and real estate law all intertwine where a family home is involved. This can raise the risk that you'll wind up somewhere you don't want to be unless you seek the help of a law firm with experience in all these areas. We stand ready to provide a free initial consultation.

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