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The Illinois Report 2014

The Illinois Report 2014 is the eighth edition of IGPA's signature publication. IGPA researchers seek to provide information and context to help decision makers tackle the state's pressing problems. Our mission is to present evidence-based research and analysis that brings critical issues into focus.

Below, you will find links to download each article in this year's report (PDF). You can also download the entire publication. This year's report covers a broad range of topics, from the state's economic and fiscal condition, to challenges in education, to questions surrounding the state's implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

If you have questions about the report, want to contact one of the authors, or need to request a hard copy of the publication, please contact Kelsey McCoy at

Click here to download the entire publication (PDF).



The IGPA Idea: Informing the Public Policy Conversation in Illinois
Christopher Z. Mooney

Click here to download (PDF).

The state of Illinois faces big challenges that require big ideas. IGPA has a unique and valuable role to play in Illinois' policy debates. We believe that ideas and information should be the bedrock of democracy. In this article, IGPA director Chirstopher Z. Mooney lays out the vision for IGPA's work in coming years, and introduces readers to The Illinois Report 2014. 


Can Slow and Steady Win the Race? Economic Recovery Continues at a Snail's Pace
J. Fred Giertz
Although U.S. economic growth accelerated in the second half of 2013, the economy still has a long way to go to return to its pre-recession levels of unemployment. Illinois' economy has mirrored the national economy in many way, but continues to lag in a number of dimensions, especially unemployment, which has continued to be one of the highest rates in the highest in the nation. 
Peering Over Illinois' Fiscal Cliff: New Projections from IGPA's Fiscal Futures Model
Richard F. Dye, David F. Merriman, and Nancy Hudspeth
Building on work presented at IGPA's State Summit in October 2013, IGPA's Fiscal Futures Project demonstrates that Illinois is still mired in a chronic condition that predates the recession and constrains government's ability to implement and administer policies. Starting from an estimated deficit of roughly $1 billion in FY 2014, the state's fiscal situation is projected - under current law and estimated rates of growth in revenue and spending - to deteriorate steadily and reach a structural deficit of $14 billion in FY 2025.
Cap-and-Trade for Illinois?
Don Fullerton and Daniel H. Karney
A cap-and-trade program has the potential to raise significant revenue because almost half of the electricity generated in Illinois comes from coal-fired power plants. The authors calculate that permit auctions could raise $1 billion to $4 billion per year, with a reasonable estimate of $2 billion in the initial years. 
Foreclosing on Community: Residential Segregation and the Long-Term Effects of the Housing Crisis in Cook County
Maria Krysan
This article builds on a March 2013 conference co-sponsored by IGPA and the Illinois Service Federal Savings and Loan Association and the Coalition of African-American Leaders. Communities across the nation continue to struggle with the long-term effects of the housing market crash and resulting foreclosure crisis of 2006-2007. In Cook County, which includes the city of Chicago and several surrounding suburbs, foreclosure and resulting vacant buildings continue to pose complex problems. A long history of racial residential segregation and the sub-prime lending crisis concentrated the effects of foreclosure in African-American and minority communities. Why is this true? And what does it mean for Cook County? 
Challenges for Education: K-12 Funding
Christopher Lubienski
Illinois continues to face significant structural challenges in K-12 education and has experimented with ways of avoiding those obstacles. Yet the current crop of reforms in elementary and secondary education utilize approaches that tend to de-emphasize inputs such as resources in favor of standards, accountability, choice, and structural reforms of school governance. 
Issues in Higher Education: Student Aid and Student Debt
Jennifer A. Delaney
College affordability is an issue of major concern for students and families. Need-based aid is one way to tackle this issue, but as more students apply for grants, fewer are able to receive aid. Illinois needs to invest more in programs such as the Monetary Award Program in order to maintain college access for today's students. Student debt topped $1 trillion dollars nationally in 2013. More should be done to help borrowers manage student debt in order to maintain an accessible higher education system in Illinois.
Guarding All Infants in Sleep
Rachel A. Gordon, Hillary L. Rowe, and Karina Garcia
The loss of a baby is an extremely traumatic event and has enduring effects that ripple out from parents to their extended families, friends, and co-workers. Educating parents and other infant caregivers about making infants' sleep settings safer can help prevent these tragedies and the considerable resulting emotional despair and productivity loss. A sizable racial disparity in rates of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) also troubles many people from a social justice perspective. This article is part of the 2013 Illinois Family Impact Seminar series on reasons for persistent racial disparities in SIDS and strategies for promoting safe sleep practices for all infants. 
Q&A: The Affordable Care Act in Illinois
Anthony T. Lo Sasso, Robert Kaestner, and Elizabeth Calhoun
In 2014, Illinois will continue to implement federal health care reform at the state level. Medicaid expansion, and the state health insurance exchange, the individual mandate, and the build out of managed care are among the most discussed policy changes the state will implement in coming years. This Q&A with three health policy experts provides information about the effects of health care reform, and challenges facing Illinois in coming years.