By: Mark Glennon*

With Governor JB Pritzker’s annual budget address coming up next week, it’s a good time to step back and look at big picture basics.

Since 2001 Illinois has sunk $190 billion further into the red, or $10 billion per year.

That’s $27 million per day.

That’s $1.1 million per hour, every hour for nineteen years.

In every one of those years politicians from both parties claimed to have balanced budgets. Most will make the same claim again next week.

Why the disconnect between actual results and allegedly balanced budgets?

The actual results come from the audited financial statements after each year ends. The true loss is shown there as a decline in net worth. Real losses include worsening debt loads, particularly unfunded pension liabilities. Today, the state’s net worth stands at about negative $190 billion, which was reconfirmed in an interim report recently released by the Illinois Comptroller.

Yearly budgets, on the other hand, ignore debt and are loaded with other gimmicks to make lawmakers look responsible. Media are routinely suckered by budget numbers. They ignore actual results. Expect the same to happen next week.

For a simple, clear explanation of why budgets are nearly meaningless, watch this video from Truth in Accounting:

*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints.

Read more about Illinois fiscal and budgetary crisis:

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8 months ago

Ultimately Illinois will just wait for a socialist fed to pay all the debt. And it doesn’t ave to be Bernie, a Bloomberg would bail out Nj and Il if asked

mike Williams
8 months ago

Great news. I assumed Illinois was in the red for 1.2 million per hour. Time to celebrate!

Fed up neighbor
8 months ago

Mr Pritzker a recent article just published by capital news and on wire points has you touting 225 million in efficiencies. But yet the state is losing millions a day, it’s obvious that you or your staff don’t understand how to do math. No wonder your brother handles all the families money, otherwise you would be broke 3 times over. One thing is very very obvious the state of Illinois is flat out broke, right Illinois unions, you know it.

joe blow
8 months ago

isn’t this more like taxpayers assumed $1.1 million of debt per hour since 2000? money has to come from somewhere right?

8 months ago

It’s the Illinois taxpayers that are losing $1.1M/hour. We are just the collateral. All deals are made behind closed doors and billing third party payers. US! Wouldn’t it be nice if we could spend as much money as we wanted and send the bill somewhere else? Does anyone know any state pensioner who didn’t get their check week after week-month after month-year after year regardless of funding levels? P.S. Does that negative $190B include lifetime health care costs?

Mike Mike
8 months ago
Reply to  Freddy

The $227.5 billion in long term liabilities (long term obligations) included in the interim (not final) June 30, 2019 State of Illinois Statement of Net Position consists of:

General obligation bonds – $27.765 B.

Special obligation bonds – 2.327 B.

Revenue bonds – $1.016 B.

Net pension liability (unfunded pension liability) – $138.592 B.

Other post-employment benefits liability (OPEB aka retiree healthcare) – $54.522 B.

Other long-term obligations – $3.328 B.

8 months ago
Reply to  Mike Mike

Mike Mike-Thank You! By any chance do you know as a matter of perspective what do Illinois residents owe in mortgage debt/students loans/auto debt? In addition we (taxpayers) owe everything you mentioned plus we also owe our own debts that were our choice to make but little or no choice for Illinois portion. If we move out of state we do not owe anything of Illinois’ outstanding debt. Wouldn’t that be great if we could do the same with our consumer debt also.

Mike Mike
8 months ago
Reply to  Freddy

The US Debt Clock (they have various debt clocks), Wirepoints, Bill Bergman at Truth in Accounting, Illinois Policy Institute, and the US Census Bureau (they have various surveys) would be good places to start.

Personal debt, consumer debt, household debt, and debt per capital are some of the keywords to assist in web searches.

Other categories to add to the list are corporate and Federal debt.

8 months ago

I was thinking what is needed is a ‘debt clock’ like they have for national debt, and googled and there is one!! (But seems to be based on same fake cash / gov accounting?), mabe wp and tia could create a better one,,,

Mike Mike
8 months ago

A State of Illinois budget is a political crime scene.