Analysis of the Illinois FY 2023 Proposed General Fund Budget
March 29, 2022
In February, Governor Pritzker put a General Fund budget proposal on the table for FY 2023 (the “FY 2023 GF Budget Proposal”) that was notably different from the vast majority of such proposals made by various governors over the last twenty-some odd years. For instance, it was significantly more upbeat than the typical General Fund budget proposal we are used to getting in this state.
Indeed, due to Illinois’ long-term, structural fiscal challenges, General Fund budgets over the last couple of decades have for the most part been far more focused on limiting the cuts to core services, rather than optimistic about investing in our future. Which is truly unfortunate, given that 95 percent of all General Fund expenditures on services in Illinois go to the four core areas of education, healthcare, human services, and public safety.
Rather than focus on cuts, the FY 2023 GF Budget Proposal calls for making a year-to-year increase in spending on every one of those four core service areas. This counters a trend of imposing real, inflation-adjusted spending cuts on core services that goes all the way back to FY 2000.
Moreover, the FY 2023 GF Budget Proposal includes a commitment to being fiscally responsible that is far more substantive than rhetorical. This also stands in stark contrast to most General Fund budgets proposed over the last two decades, which on the whole paid lip-service to being responsible—without actually implementing initiatives that strengthened Illinois’ fiscal system in any meaningful way.
As it turns out, the primary reason for both the governor’s optimism, and focus on being fiscally responsible, came down to one simple factor—unanticipated revenue growth. Initially, General Fund revenue for FY 2022, which is the state’s current fiscal year, was pegged at $44.39 billion. Now estimates are it will hit $47.79 billion, creating an “on-budget” surplus of $3.4 billion.
Read more about the about the impact of the “on-budget” surplus and the FY 2023 spending plan to get Illinois’ fiscal house back in order.