Recovering from a COVID (Spending) Fever

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 in the coming years.

March 15, 2023