Illinois State Government

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Transparency Goal Yes or No Checked by Checked when Comments
Is the budget online? Y
600px-Yes check.png
Mike V. 3/24/08 Format is not user friendly
Are meeting minutes online? Yes Mike V. 3/24/08 ILGA.GOV
Are meeting agendas online? 3/24/08 not applicable
Is information about elected officials online? Yes Mike V. 3/24/08 no emails
Is information about administrators online? No Mike V. 3/24/08
Is information about filing open records requests online? Yes Mike V. 3/24/08 No uniform policy
Is information about city-funded lobbyists available online? No Mike V. 3/24/08
Is information about vendor contracts online? 3/24/08 Open Book
Is the checkbook register online? No Mike V. 3/24/08
Is election information online? Yes Mike V. 3/24/08 IBE


Budget Information

The Illinois State Government does not currently post comprehensive budget information on its website in a format that is easy for taxpayers to understand. The information that is published is dispersed across several different agency web sites in differing formats.

The Bureau of the Budget publishes very little information about the state budget that is useful to taxpayers. While they do publish the budget for the coming Fiscal Year, the document is primarily a political one that discusses the budget only in the context of the current administration's spending priorities. Appropriations are only compared to the previous two fiscal years and do not give taxpayers any broader context for evaluating spending increases. Adding to the complexity is the state's unwieldy fund-accounting system. Most historical analyses of the budget focus on the Illinois General Revenue Fund, even though this is only one of hundreds funds operated by the state and accounts for only about half of overall state spending.

Budget Bureau Documents:

Significant data is available on the website of the state's comptroller. But this information is difficult to decipher. For instance, the 2008 Appropriations Report is 619 pages long.

Comptroller Produced Reports:

The Comptroller does provide a searchable database of expenditures, though the information available is not as detailed as a check register. For instance, one can easily find that the State Board of Education has given $580,000 in grants to non-profit organizations. But the recipients of these grants are unavailable.


Budget Process

Illinois' budget process is governed by Article VIII of the state's constitution. The politics of the budgeting process takes place behind close doors and is governed by what is referred to as the "Four Tops," the party leaders in the House and Senate. The public and even the minority party are typically not privy to the final budget until just a few hours before the vote.

Minutes/Transcripts

All legislative sessions are transcribed and posted online at The General Assembly Website.


Contact Information for Elected Officials

Contact information for Illinois' elected leaders is not uniformly available. While contact info for the General Assembly is available on the official web site (House | Senate), Illinois is one of only a handful of states that do not publish email information.


How to File an Open Records Request

A comprehensive guide to filing a Freedom of Information Act Request can be found on the website of Attorney General Lisa Madigan. However, there is no single directory of FOIA contacts statewide and not every government division clearly posts information about their FOIA contact.