The author looks back at Illinois’s expenditure and revenue performance since the late 1980s to understand the sources of its current fiscal crisis. The article shows that compared with the national average, Illinois used to be a relatively low-expenditure, low-revenue state. This changed in the mid-1990s, when, unlike the typical U.S. state, Illinois began consistently spending more than it brought in. A major contributor to this budgetary imbalance was the accumulation of pension liabilities.
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