By: Mark Glennon*


This is very bad news indeed. COGFA, the Commission on Government Forecasting and Illinois, just released its Illinois state revenue report for October and the fiscal year to date (which began July 1). Tax revenue continues to drop, despite the supposed economic recovery.


Comparing this October to last October, overall base revenues fell $304 million. Receipts from the individual income tax, corporate income tax and sales tax all declined, although transfers the state gets from the Federal government also contributed to the drop.


Comparing this fiscal year-to-date to the same period last year, base receipts are down $449 million, “reflecting growing concern with revenue performance for the first part of FY 2017,” COGFA said. Individual and corporate income tax revenue are down and sales tax revenue is flat for the year.


It’s important to note that this revenue drop is no longer attributable to expiration of Illinois’ temporary income tax. It expired at the end of 2014.


This is a particularly ugly story when combined with the analysis released today by the Illinois Policy Institute of IRS data on out-migration of the individual tax base. It shows more out-migration than in-migration of taxpayers and of total adjusted gross income, which is basically the individual tax base. And it’s the wealthier folks who are leaving while lower income folks are moving in. That’s based on 2014 data, the most recent available, and it has probably worsened since then.


The bottom line is ever increasing expenses, especially for pensions (another $1 billion increase coming up), while revenue and the tax base shrink. The state is already running deep in the red ($6 to $10 billion per year, depending on whose numbers you use), despite the harsh spending cuts already in place.


*Mark Glennon is founder of WirePoints. Opinions expressed are his own.


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J.A. Herzrent
3 years ago

The bankruptcy of government employers and the failure of their pension systems are likely events which are as well understood by public officials and public employees as by your readers. Unfortunately for the State and it’s taxpayers, I think the officials (supported by active and retired public employees) are acting in their self-interest by generating as much current income as possible to have a savings cushion when the system collapses and to have the largest possible benefit accruals to negotiate the highest possible bankruptcy settlement. We have passed the time when these “deciders” are considering any future but their own.

J.A. Herzrent
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

AND they are willing to exercise their power — that they were never supposed to have — to shut down transportation, education, public safety, health care and lots of other things that voters regard as necessities. It’s likely to end badly but not necessarily soon.

3 years ago
Reply to  J.A. Herzrent

FDR – “The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations”.

3 years ago

What’s the likelihood the politicians will take a critical and honest look at revenues and expenditures and identify a reasonable mixture of taxes and reductions in expenditures? I’m betting an 8% State Income rate and no meaningful reforms…

Rex the Wonder Dog!
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

The tax increase would have to be so massive that a stampede out would ensue, further eroding the tax base and eventually backfiring
Hasn’t that stamped already begun? showed some interesting stats a few months back….