Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), the nonpartisan economic forecasting arm of the General Assembly, continues to describe a pattern of slow Illinois recovery from the 2008-14 economic downturn. Much of this sluggishness can be attributed to overall national patterns. CGFA’s nationwide economic monitoring partners report that nationwide wages paid to employees are up only 2.1% year-to-year, and retail sales have risen so far this year by a comparable 2.1%.
In addition to nationwide numbers that are weighing down the recovery picture here in Illinois, factors unique to the Prairie State and its political picture continue to further retard the performance of the State and its budget. The “November Briefing” continues to show State FY16 general funds revenues coming in sharply below the numbers posted in FY15. For the first five months of FY16 (July through November 2015) posted to date, total general funds revenues are down $1,479 million from the general funds received during the comparable five-month period in FY15. Declines are concentrated in individual income tax revenues ($1,194 million) and corporate income tax revenues ($176 million). These declines affect the State’s ability to keep its general funds spending commitments and its ability to pay its bills.