On June 7, 2023, Governor Pritzker signed the General Fund Budget for FY 2024 into law (the “FY 2024 Enacted GF Budget”). This budget was markedly different than any previous one proposed by Pritzker and passed by the General Assembly—or any other Illinois governor and General Assembly dating back to Jim Edgar in the mid-1990s, for one, simple reason: Illinois’ General Fund is in the healthiest fiscal condition it has been for decades.
In fact, when it comes to the health of the state’s General Fund, things have changed dramatically since Governor Pritzker was first sworn into office. Back then in 2019, Governor Pritzker inherited an $8 billion backlog of unpaid bills from Governor Rauner’s Administration. That was significant, as it meant roughly 30 percent of all General Fund expenditures during Rauner’s final year as governor constituted deficit spending. Unfortunately, that was also nothing new, as Illinois had failed to produce anything close to a balanced budget in its General Fund at any time over the prior two decades plus.
Many of the structural fiscal flaws that created years of deficits remain in place. Which means Illinois decision-makers have the rare opportunity to consider reforming the state’s fiscal system not during a crisis—but while the General Fund is on an upward trajectory, with an eye toward building the capacity needed to sustain investments in core services over the long haul. The FY 2024 Enacted GF Budget analysis takes an in depth look at Illinois’ revenue and spending in the General Fund for the current fiscal year.