February 10, 2017
Prior to the release of the Governor’s annual budget recommendation, the Institute for Illinois’ Fiscal Sustainability at the Civic Federation releases an analysis of the State of Illinois’ fiscal condition. This report presents the Civic Federation’s multi-year plan to stabilize Illinois’ finances and addresses the State’s critical financial situation.
While Illinois has gone more than 19 months without a comprehensive, balanced budget, State government has continued to function because of court orders, consent decrees, statutory requirements and full-year spending bills for primary and secondary education. However, many areas of government, including higher education, human services, agency operations and group health insurance, have gone entirely or partially unfunded. A stopgap package for the first half of FY2017 provided only partial relief for some of these areas of government but the appropriations expired on December 31, 2016. The State’s backlog of bills is expected to reach $14.5 billion by the end of FY2017, and there is no clear end in sight to the standoff.
As part of a comprehensive multi-year plan, the Civic Federation recommends that the State limit spending, broaden the income and sales tax bases, expand the earned income tax credit to low income residents, borrow to pay down bill backlog and take steps to address the State’s pension crisis.