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Fiscal Futures Project Documentation

Fiscal Futures Project Documentation

In most reporting by the Illinois State Comptroller and in most political and public discussion of the Illinois state budget, the concept of General Funds is used. We report a more inclusive concept which we call "All Funds." Illinois has 4 General Funds, but over 700 funds in total (over 900 across the years in our database).Some reporting by the Comptroller covers "Total Appropriated and Non-Appropriated Funds,"but that measure includes some double counting of revenues that flow through multiple funds in the same year. Also, the appropriated vs. non-appropriated distinction does not indicate whether the resources or spending is a true state resource or function. In some instances, appropriations are made from special funds that hold locally levied taxes. And some non-appropriated funds hold state levied taxes. The Governor’s Operating Budgetreports All Appropriated Funds, but the samecaveats apply to this measure. Since our All Funds measure includes funds that hold state resources, eliminates local resources, and corrects for inaccurate reporting practices (e.g., double-counting, fund-shifting, and year-to-year reporting changes), we argue that our more inclusive concept better represents the total burdens and benefits of state government to taxpayers and residents. For a detailed rationale of our choice to concentrate on All Funds versus General Funds see our "Why Ignore or half of the Illinois state budget picture? Consolidation of General and Special Fund Reporting," (July 2011).2 The rationale in broad terms is as follows.

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Illinois appears to be fairly unique in that it has multiple General Funds, while most states have just one fund, and also in that transportation expenditures do not come out of the General Funds.

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