The massive deficit is the result of a decline in state revenues, which is a usual occurrence during a recession. However, the decrease in revenues is aggravated by the state’s lapse-period spending—which means Illinois is still paying last year’s bills.
Years of fiscal irresponsibility and spending beyond its means has led Illinois to this point. Senate Republicans have cautioned for years that Illinois needs to cut spending and place a moratorium on program expansions as a way to eliminate the state’s deficit and condense Illinois’ overwhelming financial obligations.
The bipartisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) issued a report October 2 that showed that the state’s first quarter revenues are down $340 million. In September alone, revenue receipts dropped $144 million.
COGFA’s experts had anticipated the revenues to be off in the first few months, but not by this much. The report noted that revenues are expected to improve later in the year, but it is not certain that they will be at the level anticipated when the Fiscal Year 2010 budget was approved in July.
COGFA’s report also indicated that experts believe that the recession is over and that the economy is in recovery; however, the Commission was quick to say that it does not mean that Illinois’ financial situation will rapidly improve. During previous recessions it took months for the state to see evidence of economic recovery.
NEXT REDISTRICTING MEETING OCTOBER 13
The fourth hearing of the Senate Redistricting Committee has been scheduled for noon, October 13 in the John C. Guyon Auditorium of the Morris Library at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.
Members will discuss more redistricting reform ideas, including recommendations from the Paul Simon Institute and several alternatives by third parties. Whatever proposal is advanced, it is critical that reforms are adopted.
The Paul Simon Institute at considers some of the most important—and controversial—issues that face Illinois, including gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is a term that describes the deliberate rearrangement of the boundaries of legislative districts to influence the outcome of elections. Representatives from the institute have been long-time supporters of redistricting reform, previously supporting reforms that failed to be approved by the General Assembly.