Working from Home in Illinois: Who Can and Does?
February 02, 2024
The COVID-19 pandemic precipitated a once-in-a-lifetime disruption of interpersonal activities. Attendance at in-person gatherings, whether for school, work, family, or even worship, was either restricted or prohibited altogether. Today, many societal functions such as education, entertainment, worship, and travel have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels. At the same time, many commercial activities—especially white-collar office jobs—remain online or are now “hybrid” (i.e., with both remote and in-person options). This shift from working at office buildings or other job sites to one’s own home (WFH) in some sectors of the economy disrupted labor markets and remains an enduring societal reminder of the pandemic.
Eviction Expectations in the Aftermath of the Pandemic Moratoria
December 12, 2023
As national, state, and city moratoria on eviction expired in 2021, many predicted an ensuing housing crisis, maybe especially severe for non-white renters. Census Bureau survey data from 2020 through 2023, however, reveal little evidence of that expected chaos. Non-white renters remain more likely to be in arrears than their white counterparts, but the proportions of renters behind on payment have been falling for all groups. Anxiety about near-term eviction among renters, nationally, and in three midwestern states (Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri), is broadly similar across racial groups, and has fallen gradually as the moratoria recede into history.
Geographic Differences in the Mortality Burden of the COVID-19 Pandemic
September 09, 2023
This study examines how the mortality burden of the Covid-19 pandemic varied across US states during the time period April 2020 through December 2022. The disparities were substantial, with figures ranging from 318 years of life lost (YLL) per 10,000 population in New York to 1,285 YLL per 10,000 population in New Mexico. Illinois experienced a loss of 588 YLL per 10,000, situating it within the bottom third of states in terms of total loss of life. Overall, Southern and Western states exhibited the highest YLL, while Northeastern states, the upper Midwest, and the Pacific Northwest exhibited the lowest YLL. States that voted for the 2020 Republican presidential candidate experienced greater losses. This loss of life will have multifaceted implications for public finances.
What Happened to Illinois’ Open Data Movement?
September 09, 2023
Under Governor Pat Quinn, Illinois passed the Open Operating Standards Act (Public Act 98-627) which established policy for the state government's open data portal. Effective in 2014, the act states: "Public data sets that are made available on the Internet by agencies shall be accessible through a single web portal that is linked to data.illinois.gov or any successor website." Illinois thereby formally prioritized open data as a state policy. The main web portal, data.illinois.gov, was established to make accessible state government agencies' numerous datasets in a single location. Several other states in the country have also initiated open-data efforts in recent years. The importance of open data and reproducible research has been described in past IGPA reports but this report focuses on Illinois specifically: What is the current state of…
Addressing Barriers to Homelessness Data in Illinois
June 06, 2023
While long-term trends in homelessness rates have been in decline, rates started to increase in 2015. In Illinois, Governor JB Pritzker signed an executive order in 2021 establishing an Interagency Task Force on Homelessness with the goal of achieving Functional Zero homelessness state-wide. One of the major hurdles state governments face in addressing homelessness is a lack of current and accurate data reporting. This is not because the data do not exist—some exist—but more so because the data are not shared well or even formatted in a way that facilitates sharing.
The Impact of COVID on Illinois’ Licensed Child Care Capacity
April 04, 2023
Affordable, high-quality child care is often difficult for parents to find. Illinois is no exception. Child Care Aware reports that the average monthly price of full-time child care was $821 per child in child care or 15% of the median household income for a family with children under 6 in 2020. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that access and affordability issues long pre-date COVID and are due to “generations of underinvestment in the care economy. This Policy Spotlight on child care assesses the impact of COVID on child care capacity in Illinois.
Recovering from a COVID (Spending) Fever
March 03, 2023
When the state of Illinois’ 2022 fiscal year ended on June 30, 2022, the state and the nation had endured more than 27 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite a plethora of health, societal, and economic challenges, Illinois emerged from this period in its strongest fiscal position in more than two decades. This fortuitous result was in part due to the exceptional generosity of federal aid but also was attributable to surges in economic activity and own source tax revenue. State spending also rose but much more slowly than revenue. The net result was the first substantially positive fiscal balance since 1998. While this good news may be cause to celebrate, we caution that Illinois’ fiscal situation remains tenuous and is likely to require diligence and restraint to remain healthy…
Assessing Illinois’ Fiscal Future After an Influx of Federal Funds
March 03, 2023
As the U.S. continues to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, state governments are faced with the challenge of prudent fiscal management considering the pandemic’s uncertain course into the near future. However, as reported elsewhere, states' revenues have largely fared better than expected at the pandemic’s onset. Illinois is no exception. Unprecedented federal stimulus and other measures have helped boost Illinois’ revenues beyond initial projections in 2021. Nominal revenue across all funds rose to $91.4 billion in 2021. Total expenditures rose to $92.3 billion in 2021. The temporary influx of federal funds and the pandemic driven increase in yearly expenditures and revenues makes it difficult to fully capture the change in Illinois’ long term fiscal health. Both spending and revenues have increased significantly beyond their long-term trends. This…
Replenish, Replace, Repair: How Illinois is Using its ARPA Aid
January 01, 2023
In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments across the United States found themselves grappling with a public health crisis while simultaneously experiencing sharp declines in revenue collections. For the State of Illinois, this situation was especially challenging as it had little in reserve funds and billions in backlogged bills. Illinois’ fiscal challenges had been building for years, and so the fiscal effects of the pandemic compounded the state’s financial predicament. In this article, we focus on the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF) program, which set aside $350 billion inflexible federal aid to states, counties, cities, Tribal governments, territories, and the District of Columbia. Under that program, Illinois’ state government was allocated $8.1 billion in federal aid that state lawmakers have a relatively broad level of…
Race and Eviction During the Pandemic
October 10, 2022
The COVID-19 pandemic altered almost all aspects of life, including judicial proceedings. In response to the need for social distancing to keep users of the justice system safe, courts rapidly instituted unprecedented public health precautions that participants in the court system described as chaotic.1 Courts delayed and deferred cases. They also undertook a period of experimentation with remote and virtual operations. Few if any areas of law were untouched, but landlord-tenant law was especially disrupted. Early in the pandemic, some states and then the federal government put in place broad moratoria on (most) evictions, so that a large class of legal cases was indefinitely put on hold. This Policy Spotlight reviews novel national survey data of attorneys, judges and other court personnel, as well as individuals who had courts experiences…
Why does Illinois’ Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund have a large deficit?
August 08, 2022
The economic disruption brought about by Covid and stay-at-home orders led to an unprecedented rise in unemployment and extreme fiscal stress on states’ unemployment insurance (UI) trust funds. Although this happened in nearly all U.S. states, Illinois is one of only a few states that emerged with a very large—more than $4 billion—net deficit in the fund. Through this analysis, we seek to understand Illinois’ experience and draw lessons about policy going forward. We begin by providing some background about the UI system and its financing.
Carbon Tax Revenues Can be Used to Help Those Who Lose
June 06, 2022
Climate change is not only causing heatwaves and sea level rise but also increasing the frequency and severity of floods, droughts, and forest wildfires. Illinois is not immune to these climate damages.
The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on State Court Proceedings
May 05, 2022
This Policy Spotlight was created through a partnership with the National Center for State Courts. The authors examine the ways COVID-19 mitigation policies affected state courts during the pandemic and highlight areas where changes intended to keep courts functioning led to uneven access. The report draws its findings from surveys and focus groups that included litigants, lawyers, judges and court personnel. It is the first in a series from IGPA that will explore how COVID-19 affected access to justice during the pandemic, and it comes as Illinois and other states evaluate the impact of the pandemic and consider how court proceedings may operate in the future.
The Earth Isn’t Flat, and Neither is Illinois’ — or Any Other State’s — Income Tax
April 04, 2022
Was Illinois Debt Disproportionately Penalized by the Market During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
January 01, 2022
For many, their perception of the world changed dramatically in March 2020. On March 13, President Donald Trump signed Proclamation 9994, declaring a national emergency because of the coronavirus and associated COVID-19 illness. There were just over 500 cases reported that day nationwide, with only a handful in Illinois. Just two weeks later, the nation was experiencing more than 17,000 cases per day, with Illinois accounting for about 500 of those cases. Naturally, there was much uncertainty and panicduring the early days of the pandemic about the finances of state and local governments. The question we ask in this paper is whether Illinois bond issuers paid a relatively higher price for its perceived precarious fiscal position entering the COVID-19-induced economic downturn. With such a sudden and dramatic effect on relative…
Guarding all infants in sleep
November 11, 2021
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, spurring interest in understanding why the gap persists and how to reduce it. Although death rates from SIDS for both non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black babies fell during the back-to-sleep campaigns of the early 1990s, the gap between the two groups remains large. This is true in Illinois as well as the nation as a whole. The…
Women’s Housing Precarity During and Beyond COVID-19
July 07, 2021
COVID-19 has amplified gendered disparities in caregiving, work, and housing in the United States. This Policy Spotlight brings together the latest research and data to discuss the intersection of these disparities with regard to the anticipated eviction crisis in Illinois. Housing insecurity and potential evictions will affect thousands of Illinois single-parent households, most of whom are female-headed, and disproportionately Black and Latino. This will likely lead to a sustained crisis of financial, health, and housing fluctuation, and set back historic gains in women’s equality.The recent $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that was signed into law in March 2021 is an important step in the right direction, as are the federal moratorium extension and federal endeavors. However, there are challenges with getting assistance to where it is needed. There is a…
Illinois’ Fiscal Challenges: Where are we now and how do we proceed?
April 04, 2021
Mitigating Housing Instability During the COVID-19 Pandemic
March 03, 2021
Data Indicate COVID-19 Impact on State Revenue Not as Severe as Feared
January 01, 2021