Illinois State Government
|Transparency Goal||Yes or No||Checked by||Checked when||Comments|
|Is the budget online?||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|
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:
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.
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.
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 (dead link). However, there is no single directory of FOIA contacts statewide and not every government division clearly posts information about their FOIA contact.