Difference between revisions of "Illinois state budget and finances"

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
(Multi-Measure Budget Transparency Profile)
(U.S. PIRG Following the Money report)
Line 352: Line 352:
In addition to the individual state profile, IGPA offers a 50-state comparison and profiles for other states.<ref>[http://igpa.uillinois.edu/system/files/50_States_Transparency_Profiles.pdf 50-state comparison]</ref><ref>[http://igpa.uillinois.edu/content/state-transparency-profiles State Profiles]</ref>
In addition to the individual state profile, IGPA offers a 50-state comparison and profiles for other states.<ref>[http://igpa.uillinois.edu/system/files/50_States_Transparency_Profiles.pdf 50-state comparison]</ref><ref>[http://igpa.uillinois.edu/content/state-transparency-profiles State Profiles]</ref>
===U.S. PIRG Following the Money report===
===U.S. PIRG Following the Money report===
{{Following the Money 2014 Report by State|State=Illinois|Grade=B+|Score=88|Level=Advancing}}
{{Following the Money 2014 Advancing States|State=Illinois|Grade=B+|Score=88|Level=advancing}}
===Review of Appropriation Bills===
===Review of Appropriation Bills===

Revision as of 08:25, 17 April 2014

Illinois state budget

Flag of Illinois.png
Budget calendar:  Annual
Fiscal year:  2013
Date signed:  June 30, 2012
Financial figures
GF expenses:  $33.7 billion
Other state budgets
AlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareFloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming

Illinois operates on an annual budget cycle. Its fiscal year begins July 1.

Illinois's Gov. Pat Quinn signed the state's $33.7 billion budget for FY2013 into law on June 30, 2012, with after vetoing $57 million in spending approved by the General Assembly.[1] The state began FY2013 with between $7.5 - $8 billion in unpaid bills.[2]

The State Budget Crisis Task Force released a report in October 2012 finding that “Illinois has been doing back flips on a high wire, without a net,” and that the state's fiscal condition is dire condition. It found that the "existing trajectory of state spending, taxation, and administrative practices cannot be sustained."[3] The state Auditor General William Holland reported in June 2012 that the state's budget deficit for FY2011 was $43.8 billion, the worst in the nation.[4]

As of August 2012, Illinois has a total state debt of approximately $271,111,148,000 when calculated by adding the total of outstanding official debt, pension and other post-employment benefits (OPEB) liabilities, Unemployment Trust Fund loans, and the FY2013 state budget gap.[5] The prior year's total was $280,595,828,000,[6] and the current debt total places it in the top 5 states with the highest amount of debt.[5]

As of October 2012, Illinois's total state debt per capita is $21,066.57, the fifth highest debt per capita of the 50 states.[7]

According to a 2012 study by 24/7 Wall Street, Illinois is the 48 worst run state taking into account debt per capita, budget deficits, unemployment, median household income, and the percentage of the percentage of the population below the poverty line. The best run state is North Dakota and the worst run state is California.[8]

See also: The Illinois State Budget on State Budget Solutions

Federal Aid to State Budget

The chart below represents how much of the state’s budget comes from the federal government.[9] The number is the corresponding ranking in relation to the rest of the nation (if #1, the state receives the highest percentage of federal funding in the nation):

State 2008 2009 2010 2011
Illinois 27.62% (#31) 32.35% (#30) 36.03% (#28) 33.65% (#34)
  • Figures were calculated by dividing each state’s intergovernmental revenue into its general revenue.[10][11]

FY2014 State Budget

Illinois's Gov. Pat Quinn unveiled his proposed $35.6 billion FY2014 state budget on March 6, 2013.[12]

The budget includes a 3 percent funding cut to K-12 education, but represents a 3-percent increase in spending over the FY2013 state budget.[13]


The proposal's enactment would mark the third year in a row that state spending per student has been cut, dropping from in $6,119 in 2010 to $5,452 under the governor's proposal. The state still owes districts $634 million in past state aid payments, according to the latest figures from the Illinois State Board of Education.[14]

FY2013 State Budget

Gov. Pat Quinn signed the state's $33.7 billion FY2013 budget into law on June 30, 2012, with after vetoing $57 million in spending approved by the General Assembly.[15]

As of July 2012, Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka said the state has a backlog of 160,000 bills to be paid totaling $8 billion.[16]

Highlights of the FY2013 state budget:

  • 15% of the budget money spent will go toward pensions;[17]
  • K-12 education lost $210 million from the state and when reductions in federal funds are included, the reduction tops $855 million.[18]
  • Elimination of the Illinois Cares RX program.[19]

State debt

The state government has $58 billion in direct debt, two-thirds of which consists of bonds the government issued to cover retirement payments for workers, including a $10 billion pension obligation bond that broke all previous records in 2003. Despite the borrowing the total pension shortfall is conservatively estimated at $85 billion by some.[20] The state faces total debt of $271,111,148,000 according to a State Budget Solutions study.[21]

Legislative proposed budget

On May 31 the Illinois Senate passed a $29.36 billion budget along party lines and sent the spending plan to the governor's desk. The spending plan is up one tenth of a percent from the current budget. In the new budget education spending declined by nearly 4 percent, child welfare by almost 7 percent and corrections by more than 3 percent. The Illinois Department of Transportation will get $1.6 billion in bonding authority for highway and transit projects.[22]

The proposal would reduce state spending by $317 million, or a little under 2 percent.[23]

The legislative proposal would pay $1.3 billion of the state's roughly $9 billion backlog in unpaid bills, whereas the governor's proposal does not make such a payments.[23]

Illinois lawmakers projected that state revenues will be $33.7 billion in fiscal 2013, which starts July 1. The state has somewhere between $6 billion and $8.5 billion in overdue bills.[24]

Governor's proposed budget

Gov. Pat Quinn presented his $33.8 billion fiscal year 2013 budget Feb. 22, 2012.[25] The full text of the speech can be found here. The governor's budget increases spending by 1.5 percent.[26] The governor did not specify many cuts, saying instead he would work with lawmakers to draft solutions for issues such as pension reform, Medicaid reform and closing corporate loopholes.[27] Republicans were frustrated by the governor's lack of detail.[28] Quinn put the onus on a bipartisan group of legislators formed to look at the state’s pension mess to submit a report to him with specific recommendations by April 17.[26]

Gov. Quinn claims that his proposed budget is smaller than FY2012 while Republicans argue that the budget has in fact grown larger than last year's. The difference is that the governor does include pension and borrowing costs, and the Republicans do. Quinn's budget does spend $425 million less in agency funding than the FY2012 budget, but overall the governor's proposed budget spends $50 million more last year and $3.4 billion more than five years ago..[29]

The governor's budget cut projected Medicaid spending by $2.7 billion[30] and to close several state facilities.[31] The Department of Corrections and the Department of Children and Family Services will be consolidating offices,[32] with a total of 59 facilities impacted.[26]

The governor proposed cuts of 9 percent to every constitutional office and state department except education and the state police.[33] Not all state officials endorsed the 9 percent cuts to their agencies. The attorney general said her office hasn't recovered from a 25 percent budget cut in 2006 and that staff lawyers haven't gotten raises in six years [34] The officers themselves, though, would receive raises between $1, to $ under the governor's budget.[35]

When giving the state of the state address on Feb. 1, 2012, the governor said that he wanted to increase college scholarships, spend more on preschool and lower taxes on natural gas, but he did not discuss possible sources of funds for his plans.[36]

Increased Expenses

The state is likely to pay more in many areas in FY2013. The state's retirement systems released a report in Nov. 2011 projecting that the state's pension payment will increase $5.9 billion for FY2013, $1 billion more than it was in FY2012. Medicaid costs are also expected to rise and lawmakers are seeking $490 million in additional funding from the state.[37] On June 14, 2012, the governor signed into law $1.6 billion in health care and Medicaid cuts and a $1 per pack cigarette tax increase,. which Gov. Quinn said was necessary to bring the system back from the brink of collapse.[38]

On March 1, 2012, the House approved an official revenue estimate of $33.7 billion, which is $200 million below the estimate from Gov. Pat Quinn's office. House leaders said that they wanted to be more cautious than the governor. The revenue estimate is the equivalent of an upper limit on state spending for FY2013. Although the amount is approximately $500 million more than the legislative estimate for FY2012, House Minority Leader Tom Cross says that after some of the money is used for pensions, old bills and other expenses, actual spending on new services could drop dramatically.[39]

FY2012 State Budget

As of Nov. 2011, Illinois has a backlog of unpaid bills totaling $3.5 billion.[40]

The state will end FY2012 with a deficit of $8.3 billion according to a Sept. 26, 2011, study by The Civic Foundation. Its study noted that although the state reducing spending, any benefits were negated by higher pension costs and increased borrowing costs. If nothing is done before the end of the fiscal year in June 2012, the deficit will break down to $5.5 billion in unpaid bills from companies that provide services, $1.2 billion in Medicaid payments the state will push off until FY2013, and $1.6 billion is owed to companies for tax returns and health insurance bills for state employees.[41]

Special Legislative Session

A special session of the legislature adjourned after the House rejected a tax relief plan for business but did approve a budget deal to avoid closing seven state facilities and lay off approximately 1,900 employees. That legislation shifts money in the budget but keeps overall spending at the same level.[42] Gov. Quinn signed the deal into law on Dec. 19, 2011.[43]

Gov. Quinn initially announced plans to layoff thousands of state employees in sept. 2011 and the closing of several state facilities, which he said was required to prevent the state from running out of money in spring 2012.[44] Quinn backed away from that plan and on Nov. 10, 2011, introduced a new plan that would close six facilities, but no prisons, over 2 1/2 years and reduce by 600 the number of developmentally disabled clients served in state-run facilities by 2014, allowing the state to close up to four of its eight developmental centers. It also calls for closing two psychiatric hospitals by 2014.[45] The issue was moot after the new legislation in November.[42]

Also in the November special session, the legislature passed a bill to curtail abuses of public pension systems by ending double dipping for employees getting simultaneous credit from union pension systems and public systems, and also prohibiting employees from earning pension credit while on leave working for unions.[42]

Gov. Pat Quinn signed the state's FY2012 budget on June 30, 2011, with the general fund totaling $32.98 billion after the governor vetoed $376 million in spending approved by the General Assembly and eliminated what he said were $336 million in redundant appropriations.[46] The governor's cuts upon signing the budget included $250 million in Medicaid reimbursements, which were intended to force legislators to restructure the program. The state's budget director explained that cuts won't save the state money but will actually just stall paying hospitals until next year.[47] The spending plan emerged as the result of efforts Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and Republican House Minority Leader Tom Cross that produced a $33.2 billion budget that is $2 billion less than what Quinn wanted and $1 billion less than the Illinois Senate put forth.[48]

The legislature approved the budget at the end of May, using conservative revenue estimates that the House declared is the amount of tax money the state can expect to collect in FY2012. Although Senate Democrats believe the state will collect more money than that, but Senate President John Cullerton said the Senate decided to accept the House-drafted budget rather than risk a protracted overtime session.[49] One month after signing the budget, the governor explained that he knew that there were insufficient funds to operate state government for the year but that he signed it anyway to prevent Republicans from seeking even deeper cuts.[50] On June 27, 2011, Gov. Quinn said, "The budget is an on-going process. We have to work on it 365 days of the fiscal year."[51] The state's FY2012 Operating Budget can be found here. Illinois' Capital Budget for FY2012 can be found here.

In April 2011, lawmakers passed legislation providing $7.8 billion for required state contributions to employee pensions and paying back some of the fund the state borrowed by selling bonds. Cullerton said that with that legislation, the state will have approximately $26.5 billion left, about $1.2 billion less than the spending proposed by the governor. Republicans criticized the passage of a large piece of the budget prior to determining where to make cuts.[52]

The governor signed an agreement with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union to not lay off employees or close facilities before June 30, 2012, the end of AFSCME’s current state contract, but in June 2011, the governor's spokesperson said that there was not enough money in the budget to fund all salaries for fiscal year 2012.[49] Unions sued the state and on July 19, 2011, an arbitrator ruled that the governor's refusal to give raises violated the union contract. He ordered the governor to start paying the 2 percent increase and provide back pay within 30 days. The governor said he planned to appeal[53] and a judge granted the Democratic governor’s request to hold off on paying the raises pending that appeal.[54] (See more below.)

Budget Highlights

To help raise revenue in Illinois, state lawmakers expanded gambling throughout the state. The bill would license four new casinos and would authorize slot machines at both O’Hare and Midway airports as well as at local horse racing tracks. Proponents say it will bring the state more than a billion dollars through licensing fees and subsequent tax revenue, as well as create thousands of jobs. Bill supporters say the additional gaming will deliver $500 million annually for education, public safety, and infrastructure. Some detractors though say the revenues are not sustaining and do not keep up with yearly inflation. Illinois tax revenues from casinos fell 6 percent during the past decade, from $410 million in 2000 to $384 million last year.[55]

However, Quinn called the expansion of gambling "excessive." Quinn embraced the notion of a casino in the city of Chicago, but said the expansive bill handed to him was more than the people of Illinois wanted to see.[56]

The budget passed by the legislature in the waning hours of the session is higher than FY2011’s budget and was balanced by delaying the payment of billions of dollars in unpaid bills until this current fiscal year. In the proposed budget, lawmakers include funds to pay for pensions, but did not reduce the $4 billion in old bills on the desk of the Illinois Comptroller. Instead, the state will take longer to pay these bills, including Medicaid payments.[57] The $33.2 billion spending plan is about $2 billion less than what Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn wanted. Spending less was on the minds of many lawmakers after they approved a 67 percent increase in the income tax rate in January that was billed as mostly temporary. Some of the changes sent to the governor's desk include:[58]

  • About $200 million statewide was cut from education spending
  • Lawmakers approved 50 percent of the current year's funding of Illinois Rx, a program Quinn wanted to eliminate
  • To cut down on the number of poor people using emergency rooms for minor issues, the state would start charging a co-pay of $10 — twice the regular rate — for going to emergency rooms for non-emergencies
  • The state would cut in half the amount of interest it offers when it falls behind in paying hospitals, doctors and other health care providers. Instead of 2 percent a month starting after 60 days, the interest rate would be 1 percent starting after 90 days for late payments.
  • To save $16 million annually the state would no longer pick up the costs of over-the-counter drugs, such as allergy medicine, cough syrup or painkillers, prescribed for Medicaid patients.

The budget sections that took the biggest hit were education and human services. The Department of Human Services lost more than $669 million, or 17.3 percent and education spending declined $171 million, or 2.4 percent. Early childhood education lost $17 million. Mentoring for teachers and administrators would be eliminated entirely. Special education for orphans took an $18 million cut. The state's main contribution to schools, general state aid, would drop more than $152 million, or 3.3 percent.[59]


After back-to-back years of delayed payments and bill backlogs, local educators doubted that they would collect the money on time that, on paper, they would be due in the coming year. The state owed school districts $981 million in unpaid bills, according to the state comptroller's office.[60]

Illinois' education chief says the state hasn't provided enough money to institute a new education reform law that's been praised nationwide. State education officials said budget cuts hurt efforts to move reforms forward, including cutting a model for performance evaluations and mentoring programs.[61]

Education spending

Illinois consistently devotes approximately 27-28 percent total spending to K-12 education.[62]

Fiscal Year Total Spending[63] Education Spending[64] Percent Education Spending
2009 $123.1 billion $35.3 billion 28.6%
2010 $129.7 billion $35.5 billion 27.3%
2011 $127.7 billion $35.2 billion 27.5%
2012 $125.4 billion $35.6 billion 28.3%

Pension Payment

For the first time in two years, the General Assembly agreed to pay into its Illinois public pensions and approved to plan to pay $4.5 billion in FY2012.[65]


Lawmakers balanced the 2012 state budget by dragging out Medicaid payments. Quinn’s order to cut Medicaid spending will increase the payment cycle again, to another 162 days. Illinois hospitals had been getting paid every 30 days because of the federal stimulus, but that stimulus expired July 1.[66]

The Illinois Cares RX program is also in trouble. The state is notifying all 211,000 participants in the Illinois Cares Rx program that they either will be paying more for their drugs beginning Sept. 1 or are being terminated from the program. DHFS expects 40,000 and 45,000 participants to lose their Illinois Cares Rx aid.[67] The changes mean a single person cannot make more than $21,780 a year to qualify. That's down from $27,610. The base income for a two-person household went from $36,635 to $29,420. For those still participating, generic drug co-pays will rise to $5 from $2.50 and brand-name prescriptions will cost $15, up from $6.30.[68]

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk told WLS news that Illinois' bipartisan legislation to means test Medicaid recipients was overriden by the federal government. The legislation would have made it possible to ensure Medicaid recipients live in Illinois and are low income. The legislation, designed to strengthen Medicaid's finances by cutting fraud and decreasing costs, would have saved the state millions. About 2.5 million Illinois residents are currently on Medicaid.[69]

Money Owed and State Debt

Some lawmakers, including Gov. Quinn, supported a plan to issue bonds to raise up to $8 million to pay off the state's bills. That proposal failed. Without the bonds, the $8 billion of FY2011 bills and obligations will have to be paid off by the end of December 2011 with FY2012 revenue, exacerbating the state's structural deficit.[70]

Illinois' widening structural deficit, huge unfunded pension liability, inability to pay its bills on time, cascading bond ratings and propensity to borrow its way out of financial problems have made the state a major worry in the $2.9 trillion U.S. municipal bond market. Money raised through a new income tax hike passed in January is being absorbed by Medicaid and the state's pension plans. It is not able to help pay the state's debts.[71]

The comptroller's office said that it takes the state 118 days to pay a bill, as of June 2011. As of September 2011, the state had 166,000 outstanding bills of approximately $5 billion.[72]

As of early last month, the state owed on 166,000 unpaid bills worth a breathtaking $5 billion, with nearly half of that amount more than a month overdue, according to an Associated Press analysis of state documents. Hundreds of bills date back to 2010 and the actual amount owed is likely higher because some bills are still in the pipeline. The unpaid bills range from a few pennies to nearly $25 million. In early September, for example, Illinois owed $55,000 to a small-town farm supply business for gasoline, $1,000 to a charity that provides used clothing to the poor, $810,000 to a child-nutrition program.[73]

The Chicago-based Civic Federation in 2012 warned that the state government’s $9.2 billion backlog of unpaid bills (by early summer) will reach an unprecedented $34.8 billion by 2017 without immediate action by Gov. Pat Quinn and state lawmakers.[74]

The Civic Federation made several suggestions for addressing the issue:[74]

  • “Aggressive implementation” of a Medicaid reform package that passed in January 2011. The program was designed in part to boost the use of managed care and lessen reliance on institutional care for the elderly and disabled.
  • The elimination of Illinois Cares Rx, a prescription care program for the needy launched under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich that is not eligible for federal reimbursement.
  • Curtailing pension benefits for existing state retirees by limiting benefit increases to 3 percent a year or one-half the rate of inflation, whichever is less. That constitutionally questionable maneuver would extend 2010 pension reforms that imposed identical limits on workers hired after Jan. 1, 2011.

A look at a state ledger provided by the Illinois Comptroller's Office showed roughly $67 million in overdue bills primarily from businesses as of early September. The late tab for cars and gasoline was $2.7 million. Auditing and management services were owed $4.5 million. Computer software cost $2.7 million.[75]

The Department of Healthcare and Family Services is so short of money that it isn't even sending bills to the comptroller's office where they would be added to the state's vast backlog. Spokesman Mike Claffey said the department has about $1.9 billion worth of unpaid bills it hasn't submitted to the comptroller. Claffey said recently the state owes a total $1.2 billion to its insurance vendors for premium payments and to the medical providers that care for state employees and retirees enrolled in self-funded group health plans. Payments are typically running six or seven months behind, he said.[76]

Illinois ranks first nationwide when it comes to nonprofit groups reporting late payments from the government, according to a survey last year by the nonpartisan Urban Institute. More than 80 percent of Illinois groups say their money doesn't come on time. An analysis of state data by The Associated Press found that the backlog wasn't as dire for human services as for other parts of state government, but it still amounted to more than 31,000 bills totaling $425 million. The Department of Human Services, for instance, had $105.4 million in bills that were more than a month old as of early September. They ranged from grants to nonprofit groups to food to burial expenses.[77]

Charity Funds

With Illinois' finances in shambles, the state is temporarily using tax dollars designated to supporting charities to pay off its bills. In all, state officials have borrowed $1.176 million in fiscal 2011 from 11 tax checkoff funds, according to figures provided by the Office of Management and Budget.That's on top of $434,000 that was "swept," or taken permanently, from seven funds in fiscal 2010, part of a much broader emergency funds sweep approved by the General Assembly to address a huge budget gap.[78] The borrowing was done in stages during fiscal 2011, which ends June 30, as state budget analysts needed to pay a backlog of bills to hospitals and other vendors. The earlier fund sweeps were approved in June 2010, the end of that fiscal year.

The Dead

Illinois' budget is so tight the state can no longer afford to pay for the burial of poor people reliant on public aid. State officials say the financial burden will now fall to county governments. Until July 1, the Illinois Dept. of Human Services had a budget of $12.6 million for indigent burials. The fund paid about $1,650 per deceased person – $1,103 for a funeral and $552 for a burial – to be handled by a private funeral home, which would later be reimbursed. Last year, about 12,000 such cases were funded statewide.[79]

Governor's Refusal to Pay Employees Raises

With the tight budget Illinois does not have enough money to pay all employee salaries. Gov. Quinn signed an agreement with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union to not lay off employees or close facilities before June 30, 2012, the end of AFSCME's current state contract.[80]

Gov. Quinn canceled raises for 33,0000 of state employees that were to take effect on July 1, 2011.[81] The administration notified 14 state agencies and employee unions that the 2 percent raises won't be paid as required by contract because lawmakers did not include enough money in the new state budget.[82] Quinn and AFSCME reached a deal last year that bars the state from laying off employees or closing government facilities. In exchange, AFSCME agreed to come up with at least $50 million in cost-cutting and delay raises. Originally, AFSCME workers were to get 4 percent increases July 1, but the union agreed to give up months' worth of additional pay by taking a 2 percent raise on July 1, 2011, and the other 2 percent in February. Another raise, of 1.25 percent, is scheduled for January.[83]

Quinn's office said the agencies that can't afford the promised raises include Corrections, Human Services, Natural Resources and Public Health. Canceling the raises would affect nearly 30,000 employees and save the state more than $75 million.[84] The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees filed a lawsuit over the blocked raises on July 8, 2011.[85] The unions say the pay freezes are not reasonable or necessary to achieve an important public purpose.[86]

Quinn said he was prepared to defend his decision to cancel pay raises in court,[87] explaining that he was following the law by not issuing the pay hikes, because lawmakers failed to set aside enough money to fund the increases and also maintain government functions for a full year.[81] Some lawmakers say Quinn's actions are not legal and he is bound to lose in court.[88]

A decision is still pending in circuit court. A federal judge sided with Quinn, arguing the state’s budget crisis is so dire that denying the pay hikes was “a legitimate governmental interest.”[89]

Budget Criticisms

Through the budget process lawmakers claimed they made tough choices and "cut to the bone," however in a budget analysis the Illinois Policy Institute points out fluff left in the budget.[90]

  • $4,037,500 for the Upward Mobility Program: Available only to state employees who are union members, the Upward Mobility Program pays 100 percent of tuition costs at public institutions and a set amount per credit hour at select private universities.
  • $1,057,500 for state fairs: Texas has a privately-run state fair that operates without government subsidies.
  • $4,214,400 for grants to arts organizations
  • $365,400 for the Urban Fishing Program: The program provides free summer fishing clinics at stocked ponds and other fishing outreach events
  • $2,615,600 for the Sparta World Shooting and Recreation Complex: The complex was completed in 2006 at a construction cost of $31.5 million.
  • $23,836,900 for tourism promotion: Tourism grants have included $29,550 for a Lois Lane statue in Metropolis and $200,000 for Fashion Focus Chicago 2009
  • $1,267,685 for the Internship Program: Participants in the governor's and Vito Marzullo's internship programs receive $31,332 annually and full state benefits
  • $243,800 for the Foster Grandparent Program
  • $1,640,000 for the Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois Program: This program provides higher education financial assistance for "traditionally underrepresented groups."
  • $9 million for the Renewable Energy Resources Program and the Illinois Renewable Fuels Development Program: This includes $450,000 for the University of Illinois to "implement the Biogas and Biomass to Energy program," and $13,358 to the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity house at Northern Illinois University for a solar thermal energy system to "increase the utilization of alternative energy technology in Illinois."

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals also took issue with the state's Urban Fishing Program. In a letter to Gov. Quinn, PETA chided the state for funding the program during tight economic times, as well as calling it a program that teaches children to "injure and torment defenseless animals."[91]

Another criticism the budget and the state of Illinois' financial crisis received even before the 2012 budget was signed, is for a shortage in prison-issued underwear. Prisoners at the Taylorville Correctional Center complained about having to wear dirty underwear and socks for at least half the week, according to a recent report by the John Howard Association, which blamed state budget cuts and overcrowding at prisons. Inmates also said the boxers they received from the prison often had stains and holes, the report said.[92]

On June 27, the Peoria Journal Star reported that the state owes some $620 million in income tax refunds dating back to 2009 to businesses, and the Illinois Department of Revenue announced this week that "there is not enough money in the Income Tax Refund Fund" to pay the over 7,500 businesses still owed those funds.[93]

During an interview with Fox News, Rutherford said despite the financial woes of Illinois, the federal government should not help balance the state's budget. Rutherford also criticized the income tax hikes passed in January.[94]

The Daily Herald's tax watchdog reported paying for lawmakers' mileage costs the state $1.7 million a year. That's on top of the $13.1 million taxpayers spent on salaries and leadership stipends for those same legislators. The average salary is $74,185, including leadership stipends that nearly three-quarters of the legislature gets. Combined with the average annual reimbursement of $9,292, Illinois legislators' average pay is $83,477. Only lawmakers in California, New York and Pennsylvania make more on average than Illinois legislators. The median household income in Illinois is $53,966, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.[95]

School Funding

Due to state budget problems many school districts are crafting tight budgets because they do not expect promised funds from the state coffers.[96]


The Illinois Department of Corrections could lose up to 1,000 prison guards in the next year because of retirement. Each facility in the state has a ratio of about one prison guard for every 20 inmates, according to figures released by Senate Republicans.[97]

State's Credit Rating

Illinois, which borrowed to make its two most recent annual pension payments, is the lowest-rated state in Moody’s estimation, at A1.[98] Standard & Poor’s has it at A.[99]

In January 2012 Moody's lowered Illinois' rating to A2 from A1. The downgrade to the sixth-highest rating came after a legislative session that “took no steps to implement lasting solutions to its severe pension under-funding or to its chronic bill payment delays,” Moody’s said in a report. Illinois, it said, has “weak management practices.” Moody’s revised its outlook on the debt to stable from negative, citing the state’s sovereign power over revenue and spending, and laws that establish the priority of payment for general-obligation bonds. The downgrade affects $32 billion of debt, according to the statement.[100] "The downgrade reflects the state's weak pension funding levels and lack of action on reform measures intended to improve funding levels and diminish cost pressures associated with annual contributions," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Robin Prunty in a statement.[101]

In August 2012 Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lowered Illinois' rating from A+ to A because of "weak pension funding levels and lack of action on reform measures." The firm also said the financial outlook for Illinois is negative, in part because the state's temporary income tax is scheduled to expire in 2015.[102]

Illinois' credit standing took another tumble as Standard & Poor's Ratings Services downgraded the state by one notch to A-minus and raised the possibility it could fall further. S&P placed a negative outlook on the lower rating, saying legislative consensus and action would be needed to tackle challenges, including the state's huge unfunded public pension liability.[103]

Budget Panel

Enacted in 2010 by the General Assembly, Budgeting for Results is a tool to help government agencies set priorities, meet goals, and deliver excellent services and achieve the best value possible to taxpayers. For the fiscal year 2012 budget, the first year of BFR, agencies and departments were required to justify budget requests based on results achieved in the following priority areas set by the Governor:[104]

  • Quality education and opportunities for growth and learning for all Illinois students;
  • Enhanced economic well-Being of citizens;
  • Protection of citizens’ lives and property;
  • Protection of the most vulnerable of our citizens;
  • Improved quality of life of citizens; and
  • Improved efficiency and stability of state government.

Tax Burden

A new report by Truth in Accounting.org indicates each taxpayer’s financial burden is $26,800. According to the report Illinois has $55 billion worth of assets (defined as both financial assets, and also including state parks, for example), but less than $19.6 billion is available to pay $130.2 billion of bills as they come due. n addition to not including pension obligations tied to current compensation in the annual budget, the report condemns Illinois because, according to the report: “Illinois habitually delays issuing its year-end financial report until after the next fiscal year’s budget process has been completed. That prevents citizens and public officials from having important information, leading to less-than-optimal public policy decisions.”[105] Rep. Darlene Senger told a Naperville crowd the 2011 budget broke down to $2 billion went to pay current debt and another $4 billion went towards the state’s pension obligations.[106]

As the 2012 election cycle began in Illinois, Republican candidates used the state's economy as a talking point for leadership change, with statewide officer holders criticizing Quinn's proposals for borrowing money.[107]

Proposed Budgets

Governor's Proposed Budget

In his budget address on Feb. 16, 2011, Governor Quinn asked the state legislature to consider borrowing $8.7 billion dollars to pay the state's bills.[108][109] The borrowing is a key part of the governor's $35.4 billion budget proposal.[110]

To pay off bills owed to schools, state vendors and other providers, Quinn proposed borrowing billions of dollars. Initially Quinn wanted to borrow $8.75 billion, but reduced that number to $2 billion, primarily due to lack of support in the legislature. Quinn wants to use the funds to pay off health care providers before July 1, when the reimbursement rate from the federal government drops and Illinois would lose out on millions of dollars.[111] Any borrowing proposal would need three-fifths support in the legislature.

The remaining $6 billion in the borrowing plan would pay down other state bills. This amount would be repaid over 14 years, the loan term originally proposed for the entire package. Of that money, $2.76 billion would go to pay what the state owes to schools, universities, community colleges, and local governments; $1.48 billion would be used for non-government service providers; $1.134 billion for health care providers; and $800 million for corporate income tax refunds. A super-majority or a three-fifths legislative majority in both chambers is required for passage because the bills would increase the state’s bond limit.[112] The House placed the revenue estimate next year at about $33.3 billion while the Senate determined it would be about $34.3 billion. The Senate said its number was based on estimates produced by the General Assembly’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability.[113]

State Treasurer Dan Rutherford strongly opposes the borrowing plan. Illinois's state-backed debt has risen to $45 billion from $12 billion in 2002, with 58 percent to cover payments to pension plans, Rutherford said. With a budget calling for spending $2.4 billion more than the state expects to collect next year, Illinois will create another backlog, he said. Rutherford said the state is being penalized in the bond market because of its inability to manage its budget and debt. He said the state has higher borrowing costs than other states. Illinois, which has borrowed to make its two most recent annual pension payments, is tied with California as the lowest- rated in the estimation of Moody's Investors Service at A1. Standard & Poor's has it at A+, one level above California.[114]

Rutherford is calling for freezing state spending and ending borrowing. He said: “Illinois borrowed another $3.7 billion in April 2011 to partially fund a pension payment; because of the state’s low credit rating, taxpayers will have to repay $1.279 billion in interest; that dollar amount is 17 percent more than Kentucky, 34 percent more than Michigan and 41 percent more than Washington which all issued similar bonds this year.”[115]

Over the Memorial Day weekend members of the state Senate blocked the $6 billion borrowing proposal. The bill needed a three-fifths majority, or 36 votes, to pass. That meant some Republicans had to support it to send it to the House. They didn't, and the measure got only 19 votes. Supporters of the plan said it's important to pay what's owed to providers of state services. But Republicans said it would cost the state at least $804 million in interest over seven years.[116]

Per-capita state debt has tripled since 2001, to $1,924, and would almost double to $3,732 next year if lawmakers approve borrowing, according to a Feb. 15 report from Chicago’s Civic Federation, a nonpartisan public-interest group.[117]

The budget increases spending by $1.7 billion over FY2011.[110] A breakdown of the budget can be found here

The Illinois budget deadline is May 31. With only a few days left before the budget deadline Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and House Republican leader Tom Cross worked together to set a low bar for the state's day-to-day budget at $33.2 billion — about $2 billion less than Quinn proposed and about $1 billion less than the Senate. Negotiators are wrestling over how to keep spending closer to the Madigan and Cross level, but the priorities of where and how much to cut have yet to be worked out.[118]

An impasse over the budget will jeopardize thousands of state construction jobs, Quinn said. Projects ranging from new buildings under construction at the state’s public universities to renovation work at state parks, prisons and historic sites could be put on hold in as few as 10 days, idling an estimated 52,000 of workers during the height of the summer construction season.[119] Although the capital program was approved in 2009, a reappropriation bill was used as the vehicle for adding $430 million in operational funds for education, human services and other budget add-ons. The Senate approved HB 2189, but the House rejected it -- leaving ongoing construction projects in limbo.[120]


The governor also proposed doing away with Illinois Cares Rx, which costs which costs $107 million, and lowering the Medicaid reimbursement rates by 6%, saving $552 million.[110]

Although under the governor's proposal state funding for education will rise by $231 million[110], the governor noted that savings could be found with the consolidation of school districts, which would lower administration costs.[109] The governor also announced that all drug and alcohol abuse programs would no loger receive state funding.[121]


In the governor's proposed budget, the options for “significant long-term improvements” in its five pension systems included “seeking a federal guarantee of the debt" as well as curtailing public employee retirement benefits, borrowing more and increasing annual state pension contributions were identified as other choices.[122] U.S. Rep Peter Roskam from Illinois said that there was no chance of the federal bailout of the state pension system.[122]

Legislative Budget Proposal Illinois Senate Democrats accepted House revenue projects and crafted a 2011-12 budget that cut nearly $1 billion from the Senate’s earlier spending plan. The House placed the revenue estimate next year at about $33.3 billion while the Senate determined it would be about $34.3 billion. The Senate said its number was based on estimates produced by the General Assembly’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability.[123]

House Proposal

On May 13, 2011, the House approved a $25.2 billion budget for FY2012 which spends $600 million, or 2.4 percent, less than the current budget. Under the plan, schools would relieve $169 million, or 2.4 percent, less. The Monetary Award Program would lose $17 million for college scholarships, a 4.2 percent cut. In human services, Medicaid bills would be paid more slowly, many would be trimmed 1 percent and administrative spending would drop $181 million.[124]

The House version of the budget is roughly $1 billion smaller than the version approved by the Senate and $2 billion below the governor's proposal.[124]

Illinois House leaders have reached a bipartisan budget agreement, but it was unclear if the House would be able to reach agreement with the Senate.[125] House leaders are backing a budget proposal that spends $200 million less on education. Gov. Quinn proposes to increase education spending by $200 million.Overall, education funding could be cut by as much as $600 million under the House plan if the federal government does not renew up to $400 million in special stimulus funds that helped counter the effects of the recession.[126] Quinn is not happy with the proposed cuts to education. He said cuts to education are an "alarm bell" because it's important to have a well-funded education system.[127]

The two chambers do not agree on revenue projects, with the House’s projecting $33.2 billion in revenue and the Senate making a $34.3 billion projection.[128] House leaders adopted a resolution that any additional revenue will be used to pay the state's outstanding bills.

Senate Proposal

Senate Democrats passed parts of a budget on May 4, 2011, although they did not release a summary of their plan except to say that when their entire budget package is assembled, they will have cut $1.2 billion from the budget plan introduced by Gov. Pat Quinn. The plan relies on revenue projections rejected by both the governor and the Democratic House. The budget bills passed covered spending for the departments of Revenue, Natural Resources, State Police, Labor and a number of smaller commissions.[129] They did not address funding for prisons, welfare or education, and it's unknown when the Senate will tackle those remaining large pieces.[130]

Senate Republicans initially introduced a plan to reduce spending by $6.7 billion, saying that would be more than enough to let Illinois reverse the new income tax increase and make progress on paying its overdue bills. They renewed their call to cut health care costs and slash retirement benefits for government employees, even if it requires a constitutional amendment.[131] The proposed cuts include increasing healthcare premiums for state employees to save $300 million annually, saving $9 million by reducing the number of government provided cars and eliminating $2.3 million by reducing the number of state provided cell phones. The plan also includes proposals to combine the office of state treasurer and comptroller for an annual savings of $12 million and eliminate funding for the office of lieutenant governor.[132] The plan also targets $1.3 billion in cuts to Medicaid, including reducing eligibility to certain programs like All-Kids.Other ways of achieving Medicaid reform include increasing co-pays, rolling back eligibility and eliminating optional services not required by the federal government. The plan also calls for implementing a Medicaid audit to eliminate fraud. Sen. Kirk Dillard said studies show that up to 10 percent of Medicaid payments are fraudulent. He said recapturing that 10 percent would amount to $1 billion. However, he said a more realistic outlook is recapturing 2.5 percent, which would amount to $250 million in savings.[133]

The Republican Senate caucus criticized the hiking of personal and corporate income tax levels in Jan. 2011, which is expected to raise about $7 billion in new revenue. The GOP leaders said even with a hike, they are still having to look at cutting spending.[134]

After a working weekend over the 2011 Memorial Day weekend, the Illinois Senate on Monday added $431 million to the Illinois House’s proposed budget. The biggest portion — $151 million — would fund elementary and high schools statewide. Another large portion — $49.3 million — would go to mental health grants and programs.[135] The additions would be paid for with money from the general revenue fund, the state’s biggest pot of money. The Senate estimates the state will deposit $34.3 billion into the fund during the next fiscal year in tax revenue, including the income and sales tax.

Originally, the Senate passed a $34.3 billion budget, $1.1 billion more than the House’s version. Senate Democrats passed the House’s budget despite Republican opposition. The spending plan, approved by both chambers, isn’t small enough to pay off the state's debt quickly enough to allow a temporary income tax increase to expire in 2014, according to Senate Republicans. The budget is smaller than Quinn's original proposal of $35.4 billion. The governor could sign the budget into law, veto the entire budget or change individual lines of spending.[136]

According to Senate President John Cullerton's office, the plan fully funds the pension systems.[137]

Cullerton did made no apologies during an interview last week for the way his caucus sought to hold the state’s public works bill hostage by tacking on $430 million in additional budget items.[138]

State's Credit Rating

Illinois, which borrowed to make its two most recent annual pension payments, is the lowest-rated state in Moody’s estimation, at A1.[139] Standard & Poor’s has it at A-, also the lowest in the nation.[140]

In January 2012 Moody's lowered Illinois' rating to A2 from A1. The downgrade to the sixth-highest rating came after a legislative session that “took no steps to implement lasting solutions to its severe pension under-funding or to its chronic bill payment delays,” Moody’s said in a report. Illinois, it said, has “weak management practices.” Moody’s revised its outlook on the debt to stable from negative, citing the state’s sovereign power over revenue and spending, and laws that establish the priority of payment for general-obligation bonds. The downgrade affects $32 billion of debt, according to the statement.[141] "The downgrade reflects the state's weak pension funding levels and lack of action on reform measures intended to improve funding levels and diminish cost pressures associated with annual contributions," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Robin Prunty in a statement.[142]

In August 2012 Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lowered Illinois' rating from A+ to A because of "weak pension funding levels and lack of action on reform measures." The firm also said the financial outlook for Illinois is negative, in part because the state's temporary income tax is scheduled to expire in 2015.[143]

Illinois' credit standing took another tumble in Jan. 2013 as Standard & Poor's Ratings Services downgraded the state by one notch to A-minus and raised the possibility it could fall further. S&P placed a negative outlook on the lower rating, saying legislative consensus and action would be needed to tackle challenges, including the state's huge unfunded public pension liability.[144] Illinois has the same rating as California, but Standard & Poor's gave California a positive outlook and Illinois a negative outlook, and thus Illinois is considered worst than California.[140] The reason for the downgrade was the failure of lawmakers to address the state’s hemorrhaging pension system during a lame-duck session earlier in Jan. 2013.[140]

The lower rating means taxpayers will likely pay a higher interest when the state issues bonds, or borrows money, for big items such as construction projects.[140]

Budget transparency

See also: Evaluation of Illinois state website

Multi-Measure Budget Transparency Profile

The Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois] has created a multi-measure transparency profile for Illinois, which measures state transparency as of September 2011 using indicators from a range of organizations.[145] These indicators measure both website transparency and other recognized facets of governmental transparency. In addition, IGPA presents four unique indicators of non-transparency based on the observation that transfers or reassignments between general and special funds can obscure the true fiscal condition of a state.

Illinois ranks near the bottom of all states on two of IGPA's four indicators.

In addition to the individual state profile, IGPA offers a 50-state comparison and profiles for other states.[146][147]

U.S. PIRG Following the Money report

See also: "Following the Money" report, 2014

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending.[148] According to the report, Illinois received a grade of B+ and a numerical score of 88, indicating that Illinois was an "advancing" state in terms of transparency regarding state spending.[148]

Review of Appropriation Bills

See also: Constitutional provisions regarding reading of bills

Article 4, Section 8 of the Illinois state constitution requires “title” read three times, on three separate days and that a bill must printed in entirety and placed on the desk of members before final passage. There is no provision for a length time between when the bill is placed on the desk and when a vote may be taken.[149]

State budget websites and analysis

As of May 2009, the Illinois Office of Management and Budget website does not post copies of the budget proposals from previous fiscal years. This is unusual, given that many other states' budget offices to keep up archived copies of past budgets.[150] For the 2011 budget, the state adopted a more transparent method of publishing it's budget, providing the information on a quarterly and annual basis. The new process will not affect how agency's budgets will be audited, these reports will continue to be released a year or more after revenue and costs are available.[151]

The Illinois Policy Institute posted the PDF budget books from 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010.[152]

According to the Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois ranks 48th in economic performance, doing better than Michigan and Ohio[153]:

  • 42nd in economic outlook. Neighboring Indiana and Missouri rank well ahead in terms of future opportunity, at 12th and 17th respectively.
  • 44th in GDP growth, averaging only 3.83% over the last decade. Illinois GDP growth has declined since 1977 at a rate from 7.6% to 5.9%.
  • 46th in debt burden. Illinois continues to spend government revenue growth on government expansion rather than funding past debt obligations, including pensions.
  • 44th in personal income growth over the past decade, averaging at 3.83% while the U.S. average is 4.19%.
  • 47th in employment growth from 1977 till 2006, ranking ahead of only Michigan, Ohio and Louisiana.
  • 37th in improving its standard of living, growing at only 1.13% per year over the past decade. While Illinois ranks relatively high in standard of living (18th), the state continues to fall farther down the ranks.
  • 48th in net migration, with over 727,150 people having left the state from 1997-2006.
  • 7th highest in median property taxes paid.
  • 14th highest overall tax burden in the nation.
  • 9th highest in property tax burden.
  • 4th highest gas tax burden (approximately 40 cents per gallon).
  • 1st in sales tax burden (Chicago & Cook County).
  • Illinois is shrinking in wealth, once ranking as high as 6th in per capita personal income and dropping to 18th today.
  • The growth of the Illinois economy has lagged the rest of the country for each of the last three decades.

Government tools

As of March 2009, Gov. Pat Quinn launched "Budget Illinois," which summarizes the proposed budget for 2010, offers budget figures and also details a capital projects list including information on the recommended and actual appropriations and expenditures going forward.[154][155]

According to Joe Calomino, Illinois State Director of Americans for Prosperity, Illinois's
"current opaque spending process creates the perception, or possible reality, of legislators or bureaucrats using the state budget to fund unnecessary, wasteful, or even corrupt programs, confident that most Illinoisans will never know about it. Giving taxpayers the tools to understand where and how their money is being spent will make state government more accountable and reduce waste, fraud, and abuse."[156]

However, thanks to leaders on the local level, transparency is spreading.[157]

"Open Book" is a searchable database of state contracts and campaign contributions that is hosted by the Illinois State Comptroller. Also available from the Comptroller's Office is aggregate expenditure information that can be sorted in a variety of ways. Line-item information is not available.

House Bill 35 is a 2009 reintroduction of Rep. Michael Tryon's 2008 transparency bill House Bill 4765, and would require the state to create and maintain a Web site on state employees’ salaries, state contracts, state expenditures, state tax credits and revocations and suspensions of state professional licenses. HB 35 was sent to Governor Pat Quinn on June 12, 2009.[158] The only high ranking state official listed on the site, however, is Gov. Quinn; other state employees, including Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Secretary of State Jesse White and legislators are not included.[159]

Some cities and school districts have put expenditures up online; a list of these transparent entities can be found here.

Illinois launched Sunshine.Illinois.gov to publish state expenditures, grants, public facilities’ inspection reports and more.[160]

The following table is helpful in evaluating the level of transparency provided by the state.

Criteria for evaluating spending databases
State Database Searchability Grants Contracts Line Item Expenditures Dept/Agency Budgets Public Employee Salary
Illinois Open Book
600px-Red x.png
600px-Red x.png
600px-Red x.png
600px-Red x.png
Illinois Transparency and Accountability
  • Contracts are searchable on the Comptroller's Open Books webpage.[161]
  • Line item expenditures are searchable.[162]
  • Grants are included as an expenditure category.
  • Contract search is available.[163]
  • Employee salaries are posted.[164]
  • Budgeted expenditures are listed by agency or department.[165]

Limitations and Suggestions

Independent transparency sites

Illinois Open Gov

Illinois Open Gov is a transparency website sponsored by the organization.[166][167] The site will list state employee salary, retiree pensions, and vendor information. The site states plans to eventually include all state spending.


Illinois Open Gov exceeds the current state sponsored site for government employee salary information by also factoring in information about employee's benefits and providing information about retired state employees.[168]

The site also allows others to repurpose the data by allowing it to be downloadable in Excel or CSV file formats. It also host's a forum for public conversation to discuss particular spending items.[168]

Business Climate

Since the legislature passed an increase in personal and corporate income taxes in January 2011. Indeed, several businesses, including Caterpillar and sandwich maker Jimmy Johns have suggested they may leave the state to avoid the higher tax rate. Governors from sefveral states, including Indiana, Wisconsin and New Jersey have courted Illinois-based businesses. Illinois remains 48th in job creation while it wallows in a $13 billion deficit.

On Wednesday, Terence Duffy, chairman of CME Group Inc., which owns the two institutions as well as the New York Mercantile Exchange, and Chief Financial Officer James Parisi announced the financial giant is considering moving operations and jobs out of the state in response to massive increases in state taxes. Parisi told the company's annual meeting of shareholders that the state legislature's tax hike on corporations from 4.8 percent to 7 percent costs CME an extra $50 million a year. Corporations in Illinois also pay 2.5 percent tax on income, called a personal property replacement tax, which is collected by the state and flows to local governments. The two rates taken together come to 9.5 percent, the third highest corporate tax rate in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation. In February, CME reported a 3 percent drop in fourth-quarter earnings partly because of expenses it booked related to the tax hike.[169] Other businesses that have threatened to leave Illinois over the corporate rate include:[170]

  • Sears - In May the retail giant said it was in talks with other states to relocate. Sears has made Chicago its home since 1887
  • Motorola Mobility
  • Navistar
  • Mitsubishi Motors North America
  • U.S. Cellular
  • Continental Tire
  • Modern Drop Forge

Modern Drop Forge is expected to announce it will relocate to Indiana taking more than 200 jobs. The reason for the company's move is the state's high corporate taxes and high workman's compensation payments.[171]

CN, one of the nation's largest railroad lines, announced it will invest $165 million to expand the Kirk Rail Yard in rail in Gary, Indiana, over the next three years. The company wants the yard to handle more train traffic. CN also announced it will relocate a locomotive repair shop from Homewood, Illinois, to Gary. Company spokesman Patrick Waldron says the state of Indiana, the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority and the city of Gary tipped the balance by coming through with tax incentives and grants.[172]

Illinois’ economic growth is well ahead of its neighboring states, according to a quarterly report by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. The report ranks the growth in real gross domestic product, or GDP, among the states. The numbers for 2011 are not in yet, but the 2010 figures tell an interesting tale. The GDP is the sum of all goods and services produced within given borders, in this case, per state. Illinois’ GDP grew at 1.9 percent and added about $11 billion to the state's economy.[173]

Illinois lost more jobs during the month of July 2011 than any other state in the nation, according to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report. After losing 7,200 jobs in June, Illinois lost an additional 24,900 non-farm payroll jobs in July. The report also said Illinois’s unemployment rate climbed to 9.5 percent. This marks the third consecutive month of increases in the unemployment rate.[174]

Kelly Kraft, a spokeswoman for Quinn's budget office, said there is "no connection" between the tax increases and the unemployment increase.[175]

Tollway Expansion

Tollway directors adopted a construction agenda for the next 15 years they say will create 120,000 permanent jobs and 13,000 temporary construction jobs.[176]

Budget background

The Illinois Constitution requires the governor to prepare and present a State budget recommendation for the state to the General Assembly. The Constitution also requires that the proposed budget be balanced and include recommended spending levels for state agencies, estimated funds available from tax collections and other sources, and state debt and liabilities. The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) estimates revenues in consultation with the Department of Revenue and GOMB subsequently develops budget recommendations that reflect the governor’s programmatic and spending priorities.

The Governor presents the Budget Address in February. After the Governor’s Budget Address, legislative review of the governor’s budget recommendations begins almost immediately with hearings before House and Senate appropriation committees.

Final approval of the budget usually occurs at the end of the legislative session, typically by the end of May. The Illinois Constitution requires a simple majority vote of the General Assembly for a bill passed on or before May 31 to take effect immediately. On or after June 1, a three-fifths super majority vote of the General Assembly is required in order for a bill to take effect for the upcoming fiscal year.

Once the General Assembly passes the budget, the governor must sign appropriation bills before funds can be spent. If the Governor chooses not to approve a specific appropriation, he may either veto a specific line item or reduce it. The rest of the appropriation bill is unaffected by these vetoes and becomes effective. Line items that have been vetoed or reduced must be reconsidered by the General Assembly during the fall session. The General Assembly may return an item to the enacted level by simple majority vote in both chambers in the case of a reduction veto and by a three-fifths super majority vote in the case of a line item veto.[177]


Illinois has received $9.1 billion in federal stimulus funding between February 2009 and June 2013.[178]

Public Employees

See also: Illinois public employee salaries and Illinois public pensions

According to 2008 Census data, the state of Illinois and local governments in the state employed a total of 790,539 people.[179] Of those employees, 566,872 were full-time employees receiving a net pay of $2,491,829,151 per month and 233,667 were part-time employees paid $212,405,146 per month.[179] Sixty percent of those employees, or 450,443 employees, were in education or higher education.[179]

Illinois Governor Quinn signed a bill that will shed sunshine through “Illinois Transparency and Accountability Portal,” a piece of transparency legislation that Americans for Prosperity and State Representative Michael Tryon (R – Crystal Lake) spearheaded. The bill, House Bill 35, which created the Illinois Accountability Portal as a law, requiring the Department of Central Management Services to create a transparent website with information regarding state expenditures, tax credits, state employee salaries and state contracts.[180] The only high ranking state official listed on the site is Gov. Quinn; other state employees, including Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Secretary of State Jesse White and legislators are not included.[181]

Accounting principles

See also: Illinois government accounting principles

The Illinois Auditor General is William G. Holland. Since August 1992, William G. Holland has served as Auditor General of the State of Illinois. He was appointed by the General Assembly to a ten-year term commencing August 1, 1992. He was unanimously re-appointed to a second ten-year term, effective August 1, 2002.[182] The Auditor General is a constitutional officer of the State of Illinois charged with reviewing the obligation, expenditure, receipt and use of public funds. The office issues approximately 150 post-audits of State agencies each year, reviewing an agency's financial records, compliance with State and federal laws and regulations, and program performance after the close of its fiscal year. Report digests (summaries) and full audit reports of released audits are available online.[183]

The Illinois State Comptroller is Daniel W. Hynes, who has had 3 terms since first elected in November of 1998. The Comptroller's Office was created by the Constitutional Convention of 1970 as an expanded replacement for the Office of the Auditor of Public Accounts.[184]

The Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) rates Illinois “Worst” in filing the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) – The annual report of state and local governmental entities. IFTA rated 22 states timely, 22 states tardy, and 6 states as worst. IFTA does not consider Illinois’ CAFRs, and those of the other states, to be accurate representations of the state’s financial condition because the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) basis does not include significant liabilities for the pension plans and for other post employment benefits, such as health care.[185] Illinois’ CAFRs CAFRs are published online by the Illinois State Comptroller.[186][187]

Credit Rating Fitch Moody's S&P
Illinois[188] A A1 AA-

Governor Pat Quinn joined with Attorney General Lisa Madigan and members of the Illinois Reform Commission on August 17, 2009 to sign bills to increase transparency and accountability in state government. The legislation strengthens the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and ensures the state’s boards and commissions are open and accessible to the public. The website makes the State’s expenditures and employee pay data available through a single, searchable portal: Accountability.Illinois.gov.[189]

See also

External links

Helpful budget links

Additional reading


  1. The Chicago Sun Times "Quinn cuts $57 million from state budget" June 30, 2012
  2. The Peoria Journal Star "Illinois began new budget year owing $7.5 billion" July 16, 2012
  3. STate Budget Crisis Task Force "Illinois Report" Oct. 2012
  4. WBEZ.com "Auditor General report says Illinois has worst budget deficit in the nation" June 21, 2012
  5. 5.0 5.1 State Budget Solutions "State Budget Solutions' third annual State Debt Report shows total state debt over $4 trillion" Aug. 28, 2012
  6. State Budget Solutions “Report reveals aggregate state debt exceeds $4 trillion” Oct. 24, 2011
  7. State Budget Solutions "State debt more than $37,000 per private worker, $13,000 per capita" Oct. 2, 2012
  8. Yahoo, The Best- and Worst-Run States in America, Nov. 27, 2012
  9. Tax Foundation "Federal Aid to State Budgets," Accessed August 22, 2013
  10. US Census Federal Aid to State and Local Governments
  11. Tax Foundation' "Monday Map: Federal Aid to State Budgets. Accessed October 15, 2013
  12. The Chicago Sun Times "Gov. Quinn says $35.6 billion proposal ‘most difficult budget . . . ever’" March 6, 2013
  13. The Chicago Sun Times "Gov. Quinn says $35.6 billion proposal ‘most difficult budget . . . ever’" March 6, 2013
  14. The Chicago Tribune "Quinn's proposed budget squeezes educators" March 8, 2013
  15. The Chicago Sun Times "Quinn cuts $57 million from state budget" June 30, 2012
  16. WJBC.com "Topinka: No improvement in state budget" July 3, 2012
  17. Tri States Public Radio "Illinois Pension Debt Hurts Other State Services" July 8, 2012
  18. The Springfield Journal-Register "Schools take heavy hit in new Illinois budget" June 8, 2012
  19. The Huffington Post "Springfield Budget Recap -- The Poor Get Poorer" June 19, 2012
  20. The New York Times "Illinois Debt Takes Toll, Study Finds" Oct. 24, 2012
  21. State Budget Solutions "State Budget Solutions' third annual State Debt Report shows total state debt over $4 trillion" Aug. 28, 2012
  22. Quincy Herald-Whig, Illinois budget passes; pension bill will require a summer session, June 1, 2012
  23. 23.0 23.1 Businessweek "Democrats in Illinois Senate offer budget proposal" May 18, 2012
  24. The Quincy Herald-Whig "Illinois budget fix will require years to reduce debt, discipline to avoid frivolous spending" March 26, 2012
  25. San Francisco Chronicle "Illinois Becomes Moody's Lowest-Rated State After Downgrade" Jan. 9, 2012
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 The Chicago Sun Times "Gov. Pat Quinn on pension mess: ‘Everything is on the table’" Feb. 22, 2012
  27. The Chicago Tribune "Quinn's bad news budget: 'Our rendezvous with reality has arrived'" Feb. 22, 2012
  28. The State Journal-Register "Quinn's budget address lacks details on pensions, Medicaid fixes" Feb. 22, 2012
  29. Forbes "Pat Quinn's Illinois Budget: Spending Up, Program Spending Down" Feb. 27, 2012
  30. State Budget Solutions "Quinn: Medicaid must be cut back" Feb. 20, 2012
  31. The State Journal Register "Quinn's budget plan to include more state facility closures" Feb. 16, 2012
  32. The Chicago Tribune "Quinn to call for dozens of prison, human services closures" Feb. 21, 2012
  33. ABC7 "Quinn's budget address: What's expected to be cut" Feb. 21, 2012
  34. State Budget Solutions "Other Ill. officials cool to Quinn's call for cuts" Feb. 29, 2012
  35. CIProud.com "Proposed State Budget Also Includes Raises" Feb. 27, 2012
  36. The Chicago Tribune "Quinn shoves aside state's budget woes" Feb. 1, 2012
  37. Illinois Statehouse News "Illinois needs $1 billion more for FY13 budget" Nov. 21, 2011
  38. The Chicago Tribune "Quinn says Medicaid cuts were needed to prevent collapse" June 15, 2012
  39. [The Chicago Tribune March 1, 2012]
  40. Illinois Statehouse News "Illinois needs $1 billion more for FY13 budget" Nov. 21, 2011
  41. The Chicago Tribune "Illinois budget deficit to hit $8 billion despite tax increase" Sept. 26, 2011
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 Businessweek "Ill. Legislature adjourns as tax package stalls" Nov. 29, 2011
  43. The Chicago Tribune "Quinn signs law averting layoffs" Dec. 20, 2011
  44. The Chicago Tribune "Quinn plans layoffs, facility closings" Sept. 6, 2011
  45. Businessweek "Illinois lawmakers reject Quinn's closure plans" Nov. 10, 2011
  46. Reuters "Illinois governor signs budget but state's problems mount" June 30, 2011
  47. WBEZ.com "State cuts to Medicaid meant to force a restructure to the program" July 5, 2011
  48. The Chicago Tribune "Lawmakers continue to cut despite major income tax increase" June , 2011
  49. 49.0 49.1 The State Journal-Register "Employee salary shortfall looms in state budget" June 27, 2011
  50. The Chicago Tribune "Quinn signed state budget to avoid deeper cuts by Republicans" July 25, 2011
  51. The Kane County Chronicle "Quinn to sign state budget Thursday" June 27, 2011
  52. Businessweek "Ill. lawmakers OK money for debt, pension payments" April 15, 2011
  53. Forbes "Arbitrator: Ill. gov. must give workers pay raises" July, 2011
  54. The Washington Post "Judge temporarily halts union raises for Illinois state workers after governor appeals" July 22, 2011
  55. Christian Science Monitor, Illinois' new solution to huge budget crisis - gambling, June 1, 2011
  56. Chicago Sun Times, Quinn Calls Gambling Expansion Plan Excessive, Criticizes Budget Cuts, June 1, 2011
  57. State House News, Illinois Budget Spends Less, but Doesn't Cut More, May 31, 2011
  58. Chicago Tribune, Education, social services are big losers in state budget, June 1, 2011
  59. Business Week, Proposed Ill. budget hits human services, schools, June 3, 2011
  60. Chicago Tribune, Budget would cut $171 million from public schools, June 1, 2011
  61. WBEZ, State schools chief says budget cuts hurt reform , July 18, 2011
  62. State Budget Solutions "Throwing Money At Education Isn't Working" Sept. 12, 2012
  63. USGovernmentSpending.com "Illinois Government Spending Chart - Total Spending" Aug. 4, 2012
  64. http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/spending_chart_1997_2017ALb_13s1li111mcn_20t USGovernmentSpending.com "Illinois Government Spending Chart - Education Spending"Aug. 4, 2012
  65. Illinois Statehouse News"Pensions to be paid without borrowing, first time in two years" April 19, 2011
  66. StateHouse News, Quinn's Medicaid reduction means 5 months payment delay, July 7, 2011
  67. Press Mentor, Illinois Cares Rx participants being notified of cutbacks, July 15, 2011
  68. Chicago Tribune, Ill. budget cuts reduce seniors' drug benefits, July 15, 2011
  69. Kirk: Feds override means-testing Illinois Medicaid recipients, July 18, 2011
  70. Reuters, Illinois on track to end fiscal year owing $8 billion, June 2, 2011
  71. Reuters, Illinois on track to end fiscal year owing $8 billion, June 2, 2011
  72. The Chicago Sun-Times "Deadbeat Illinois owes billions" Oct. 16, 2011
  73. Chicago Sun Times, Deadbeat Illinois Owes Billions, Oct.17, 2011
  74. 74.0 74.1 "State action urged to stop pension debt from ballooning," Chicago Sun-TImes, January 30, 2012
  75. Jacksonville Journal Courier, Deadbeat Illinois: Unpaid bills undercut state's business partners, Oct. 17, 2011
  76. St. Louis Today, Official numbers hide true health care backlog, Oct. 17, 2011
  77. CBS Moneywatch, Nonprofits bear burden of Illinois' unpaid bills, Oct. 17, 2011
  78. News Gazette, State takes money designated for charities, repays some of it, June 26, 2011
  79. Austin Talks, The money is gone for burying Illinois’ poor, Aug. 17, 2011
  80. State Journal Register, Employee salary shortfall looms in state budget, June 27, 2011
  81. 81.0 81.1 The Chicago Tribune "State worker unions protest blocked raises" July 12, 2011
  82. Victoria Advocate, Ill. governor plans to skip $77 million in raises, July 4, 2011
  83. Contra Costa Times, Ill. governor plans to skip $75 million in raises, July 6, 2011
  84. Victoria Advocate, Ill. governor plans to skip $77 million in raises, July 4, 2011
  85. All Headline News, Illinois public workers file lawsuit to stop salary freeze. July 11, 2011
  86. Courthouse New, Unions Fight Pay Freeze in Illinois, July 14, 2011
  87. Forbes, Quinn: Ready for Lawsuits, July 6, 2011
  88. State House News, Lawmakers: Court challenges overrides likely for Quinn budget, July 6, 2011
  89. The Chicago Tribune "Arbitrator rules against Quinn on layoffs, closures" Oct. 3, 2011
  90. BND, So much for 'necessary services', June 13, 2011
  91. PETA, It's Time to Cast the Cruel and Wasteful $365,000 'Urban Fishing' Program Out of the Busted Budget, June 13, 2011
  92. NY Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/30/us/30brfs-Prison.html, June 29, 2011
  93. Huffington Post, Underwear Shortage In Illinois Prisons: Latest Sign Of State's Financial Woes , June 29, 2011
  94. Fox News, Illinois State treasurer on budget mess, July 6, 2011
  95. Daily Herald, You paid $1.7 million for legislators' mileage, daily allowance, Aug. 10, 2011
  96. Evansville Courier, Illinois budget woes hit school funding, Aug. 19, 2011
  97. State House News, Prison guard numbers worry lawmakers, Aug. 26, 2011
  98. San Francisco Chronicle "Illinois Becomes Moody's Lowest-Rated State After Downgrade" Jan. 9, 2012
  99. Chicago Tribune "S&P lowers Illinois credit rating over pensions" Aug. 29, 2012
  100. Bloomberg, Illinois Becomes Moody’s Lowest-Rated U.S. State With Debt Downgrade to A2, Jan. 6, 2012
  101. Chicago Tribune "S&P lowers Illinois credit rating over pensions" Aug. 29, 2012
  102. Fox Chicago, S&P lowers Illinois credit rating over pensions, Aug. 29, 2012
  103. Chicago Tribune, S&P downgrades Illinois to A-minus, citing pension inaction, Jan. 25, 2013
  104. Illinois Government News Network, Governor Quinn Convenes Budget Reform Commission, Aug. 22, 2011
  105. Chicago Sun Times, As debt crisis looms at state level, Illinois identified as a ‘sinkhole’, Aug. 14, 2011
  106. Naperville Sun, Senger talks pension reform at forum, Aug. 26, 2011
  107. Chicago Sun Times, GOP rejects Quinn borrowing plan again, Aug. 19, 2011
  108. here
  109. 109.0 109.1 The Chicago Tribune "Quinn asking for $1.7B spending boost" Feb. 16, 2011
  110. 110.0 110.1 110.2 110.3 CNNMoney.com "Illinois governor proposes borrowing $8.7 billion" Feb. 16, 2011
  111. http://www.statebudgetsolutions.org/publications/detail/quinn-tweaks-borrowing-plan-amid-republican-opposition/ State Budget Solutions, Chicago Tribune, Quinn Tweaks Borrowing Plan, march 25, 2011]
  112. Illinois Farm Bureau, State lawmakers advance budget ideas, congressional map, May 27, 2011
  113. State Journal Register, Illinois Senate to accept House Revenue estimates, cut budget further, May 26, 2011
  114. San Francisco Chronicle, Illinois Must Stop Borrowing for Operating Costs, Treasurer Says, May 25, 2011
  115. http://www.pantagraph.com/news/opinion/editorial/article_5643ef12-88b3-11e0-9d0e-001cc4c002e0.html/ Pantagraph, If Gov. Quinn won't listen, Wall St. might, May 31, 2011]
  116. Chicago Tribune, Republicans in Illinois House shoot down workers' comp changes, May 30, 2011
  117. Bloomberg News, Illinois' Quinn Says Budget Cutting Governor's Have it Wrong, April 1, 2011
  118. Chicago Tribune, Lawmakers save the rest for last, May 28, 2011
  119. Bloomington Pantagraph, Quinn: Budget impasse threatens 52,000 jobs, June 6, 2011
  120. Quincy Herald Whig, Special session sought to avert work stoppage, job crisis in Illinois, June 8, 2011
  121. Daily Mail, Illinois slashes ALL state funding for drug and alcohol abuse treatment in massive cuts, Feb. 21, 2011
  122. 122.0 122.1 The Chicago Sun-Times "Top U.S. House Republican rejects federal guarantee for Ill. pensions" Feb. 23, 2011
  123. State Journal Register, Illinois Senate to Accept House Revenue Estimates, Cut Budget Further, May 26, 2011
  124. 124.0 124.1 Businessweek "Ill. House OKs deep cuts in preliminary budget" May 13, 2011
  125. Illinois Statehouse News "House versus Senate on budget?" March 30, 2011
  126. Chicago Tribune, House Democrats, GOP Join hands on Budget Plan, March 31, 2011
  127. WBEZ, Quinn Says He Won't Support Education Cuts, April 4, 2011
  128. Illinois Statehouse News "Illinois Senate sets its own budget numbers" March 16, 2011
  129. The State Journal-Register "Senators tackle easiest portions of state budget first" May 4, 2011
  130. Businessweek "Ill. Senate begins tackling state budget" May 4, 2011
  131. Businessweek "GOP senators propose $6.7B in cuts to Ill. budget" March 17, 2011
  132. Patch, Republican Senators Tout Budget Proposal, March 25, 2011
  133. Patch, Republican Senators Tout Budget Proposal, March 25, 2011
  134. Patch, Republican Senators Tout Budget Proposal, March 25, 2011
  135. State House News, Senate Adds 431 Million to Illinois Budget, May 31, 2011
  136. State House News, Senate Adds 431 Million to Illinois Budget, May 31, 2011
  137. My Stateline, Illinois Senate Passes Budget, May 31, 2011
  138. Illinois Times, The Senate president's side of the budget story, June 30, 2011
  139. San Francisco Chronicle "Illinois Becomes Moody's Lowest-Rated State After Downgrade" Jan. 9, 2012
  140. 140.0 140.1 140.2 140.3 The Chicago Tribune "Illinois credit rating sinks to worst in nation" Jan. 25, 2013
  141. Bloomberg, Illinois Becomes Moody’s Lowest-Rated U.S. State With Debt Downgrade to A2, Jan. 6, 2012
  142. Chicago Tribune "S&P lowers Illinois credit rating over pensions" Aug. 29, 2012
  143. Fox Chicago, S&P lowers Illinois credit rating over pensions, Aug. 29, 2012
  144. Chicago Tribune, S&P downgrades Illinois to A-minus, citing pension inaction, Jan. 25, 2013
  145. Transparency profile for Illinois
  146. 50-state comparison
  147. State Profiles
  148. 148.0 148.1 U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
  149. Article 4, Section 8
  150. Illinois Policy Institute, "Where can I find past copies of the Illinois state budget?," May 11, 2009
  151. Chicago Press Release, Governor’s Office of Management and Budget Improves Transparency by Releasing Quarterly Financial Reports – Financial Statements Now Available Without Delay, Dec. 9, 2010
  152. 2005-2010 PDF Budgets
  153. Illinois Policy Institute, "Illinois Fast Facts."
  154. Budget Illinois
  155. State of Illinois - Budget, March 19, 2009
  156. Helium.com, "Should the salaries of all Illinois state employees be available for public viewing on a Web site, as suggested in a bill in the General Assembly?"
  157. Illinois Policy Institute, "Compass Online: 'Citizen Action: A Growing Movement,'" January 22, 2009
  158. Bill Status, Illinois House Bill 35 (2009)
  159. State Journal Register "State worker salary site lacks prominent officials" Aug. 18, 2009
  160. Civs Source Online, Illinois launches sunshine portal, March 18, 2010
  161. Open Book
  162. Expenditures, ITAP
  163. Search by Contract
  164. Employees
  165. Agency Allocations
  166. Illinois Channel, Illinois Open Government Webpage Now Up and Running, December 2, 2009
  167. Open Illinois, New Transparency Site!, December 2, 2009
  168. 168.0 168.1 168.2 Illinois Policy Institute, Putting the Spotlight on State Spending, December 2, 2009
  169. Investors, Will The Chicago Merc Flee Illinois Taxes?, June 10, 2011
  170. Chicago Tribune, Illinois companies eyeing an exit, June 12, 2011
  171. ABC, Blue Island business to move to Indiana, Aug. 22, 2011
  172. WBEZ, CN shifts rail jobs from south suburbs to Gary, Aug. 4, 2011
  173. Illinois Statehouse News, Illinois’ productivity is ahead of its neighbors, Aug. 2, 2011
  174. Illinois Review, Illinois Loses Most Jobs in the Nation in July, Aug. 22, 2011
  175. Statehouse News, Illinois jobs picture worsening, Aug. 22, 2011
  176. Daily Herald, Will tollway expansion create 120,000 jobs?, Aug. 26, 2011
  177. State of Illinois, “Illinois State Budget FY 2010,” March 16, 2009
  178. Recovery, "Stimulus Spending by State"
  179. 179.0 179.1 179.2 2008 Illinois Public Employment U.S. Census Data
  180. State of Illinois Transparency and Accountability Website
  181. State Journal Register "State worker salary site lacks prominent officials" Aug. 18, 2009
  182. Office of the Illinois Auditor General Web site, retrieved October 20, 2009
  183. Office of the Illinois Auditor General Web site, retrieved October 20, 2009
  184. Office of the Illinois State Comptroller Web site, retrieved October 20, 2009
  185. Institute for Truth in Accounting, “The Truth About Balanced Budgets—A Fifty State Study,” Page 35
  186. the Illinois State Comptroller
  187. Office of the Illinois State Comptroller, Research and Fiscal Information Department Web site, retrieved October 20, 2009
  188. California State Treasurer, “Comparison of Other States’ General Obligation Bond Ratings”
  189. Gov. Quinn Press Release, “Governor Quinn Signs Major Legislation to Increase Transparency in State Government,” August 17, 2009