Latest Reports

Latest Politics & Government Reports

February 21, 2019

Few will argue that Illinois has significant issues with the underfunding of its five public employee pension systems. In fact, many say the state faces a continuing “pension crisis.” 

However, this report argues that this “crisis” framework or mentality surrounding the issue actually impedes a sustainable solution. The report urges policymakers to rethink the conversation about pensions and Illinois’ finances. 

May 9, 2018

Despite the political media’s focus on the various legislative battles taking place in state capitols all across the country, policy and legislative work are only one part of a state legislator’s job description. State legislators are also responsible for helping their constituents navigate the often-complicated world of government. In theory, good constituent service can inform citizens of government programs and ensure that elected officials regularly correspond with constituents.

March 1, 2018

The state of Illinois finally ended its two-year budget impasse in July 2017 but continues to face a structural fiscal imbalance. We use comprehensive data supplied by the Illinois Comptroller to construct a time series showing Illinois state revenue and expenditures on a consistent basis since FY1998. We find that during this period Illinois’ expenditures have grown faster than its revenue and the state has had large budgetary gaps, with spending significantly exceeding sustainable revenue, since FY2000.

February 23, 2017

Governments in Illinois have been forced to spend tens of millions of dollars due to the loss of subsidies in a federal bond program, and could lose hundreds of millions more if the federal budget sequester remains in place, according to an analysis from the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

November 30, 2016

Research suggests that a solution to Illinois’ current fiscal crisis will require a "grand plan" with multiple revenue increases, multiple spending cuts, and multiple years of adjustment. Extraordinary budgeting mechanisms may be required to achieve political consensus on and implement such a plan. This article provides an overview of some public budget enforcement mechanisms designed to facilitate long-term fiscal stability in the U.S and around the world.

November 30, 2016

The state of Illinois has operated for many years with a structurally unbalanced budget in the sense that, under the policies in place at the time, government revenue generated by the tax system was insufficient to pay for government spending under current law. This new report from IGPA's Fiscal Futures Project says the state of Illinois can recover from its current fiscal problems, but only with a disciplined and sustain approach that considers many alternatives. 

November 29, 2016

The Fiscal Futures Project, which began in 2008, is dedicated to informing the public and policymakers in Illinois about long-term budget issues.  The Fiscal Futures Project has developed and refined two important tools over the last eight and one-half years. 

February 15, 2016

New analysis by the Fiscal Futures Project finds that Illinois’ budget impasse has put spending on autopilot while revenue is down significantly. This perfect storm of decreased revenue and uncoordinated spending is causing uneven allocations and exacerbating an already massive budget deficit. 

January 16, 2016

Illinois’ Jan. 14 sale of $480 million in general obligation bonds brought the state nearly $53 million less than it could have received had it been in better fiscal shape.

The analysis also indicates that this “financial condition penalty” could more than double in future years if the crisis continues. And when future capital needs are included, the estimated penalty could grow to more than $400 million per year, according to the study.

April 14, 2014

Interest politics, as opposed to party politics, make fixing Illinois’ budget problems very complex and difficult. All people and businesses have multiple and overlapping interests in what the state does. Thinking about broad and narrow interests helps understand them. Broad interests are those that many people hold weakly; for example, we all have an interest in a balanced state budget. Narrow interests are those that fewer people hold, but they often do so very strongly; for example, all teachers have an interest in higher pay for educators.