Despite solid revenue growth from recent tax increases and a healthy national economy, the State of Illinois sank $3.7 billion further into the hole in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2019.
The loss is reflected in an Interim Financial Report recently released by Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza. Specifically, the state’s Total Primary Net Position worsened from negative $184.0 billion to negative $187.7 billion at June 30, 2019. Changes in Net Position are the equivalent of profit or loss in private sector accounting.
Losses have persisted since 2001, as shown in the chart below.
Note that the losses occurred despite claims by many members of both parties that the budget for the year was “balanced,” which the media repeat without objection. As we often remind our readers, budget accounting is nearly meaningless and claims of balanced budgets should be ignored. That lesson should be remembered when Governor JB Pritzker delivers his annual budget address next week, which undoubtedly again will be described as balanced.
Salute to Comptroller Susana Mendoza for releasing an interim report, which hasn’t been provided in the past. Ordinarily, the state’s true performance isn’t known until release of complete, audited financial statements, which are often delayed. While the interim report numbers are subject to final adjustments, they provide important information in the meantime.