June 2, 2019

Illinois Policy Institute research reveals budget may be $1.3 billion structurally out of balance

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (June 2, 2019) – The Illinois General Assembly passed a record-breaking $40.27 billion budget during the last day of regular legislative session with less than 24 hours to review it. As if that weren’t enough, Illinois lawmakers pushed through a $45 billion capital-spending plan today.

This rushed process left not only lawmakers with limited-to-no time to review each proposal, but also silenced taxpayers from weighing in.


  • Initial analysis by the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute reveals the $40.27 billion budget may be structurally out of balance by at least $1.3 billion, when comparing the 2020 plan to previous revenue predictions from legislative and executive budget agencies.
  • Illinois drivers will be left with the second highest total gas tax burden in the nation as lawmakers voted to double the state’s gas tax to 38 cents from 19 cents a gallon. This would cost the average driver about $100 more per year. Additional fee increases include those on car registrations, electric car registrations, motor homes, parking garages and diesel fuel.
  • The budget relies on a number of gimmicks such as fund sweeping, overly optimistic assumptions that may not materialize, and one-time revenue sources from areas such as sports gambling licenses.
  • Lawmakers filled the budget with millions in wasteful spending for items such as decorative streetlights, construction for parks and gazebos, and exposing “youngsters to the game of golf.”
  • The Illinois House voted 83-35 to pass the budget, while the Illinois Senate voted 40-19. The House voted 83-29 on the gas tax hike in the capital plan and the Senate concurred 48-9.

Adam Schuster, director of budget and tax research for the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute, offered the following statement:

“Whether it’s managing our basic services of government or repairing our roads and bridges, Springfield seems to have only one idea to accomplish anything: take more money from taxpayers.

“Every year Illinois lawmakers promise a balanced budget, and yet, every year expenditures exceed revenues. Instead of breaking the cycle, Gov. J.B. Pritzker broke spending records by doing more of the status quo, increasing deficit spending and tax hikes while avoiding Illinois’ billions in bill backlog and pension debt.

“Like a family banking on winning the lottery to pay for their electric bill, Illinois is digging itself deeper and deeper into debt. It is taxpayers who will bear the brunt of this pain as lawmakers refuse to address the state’s biggest cost drivers or reign in spending. There is a path forward to both balancing the budget and funding infrastructure without hiking taxes. Taxpayers deserve that option.”

The Institute will provide thorough analysis of the 2020 budget in the coming weeks.

To read the Illinois Policy Institute’s no-tax hike budget plan, visit illin.is/budgetsolutionsand to read the Institute’s no-tax hike capital plan, visit illin.is/capitalplan.

For bookings or interviews, contact media@illinoispolicy.org or (312) 607-4977.