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Chicago Fed Letter, No. 365, 2016
The Illinois Budget Crisis in Context: A History of Poor Fiscal Performance

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.

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, 230 South LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60604-1413, USA. Tel. (312) 322-5322

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