The rebound of Illinoisans’ income since the recession is second-to-last in the country, but taxpayers have paid more in taxes than most of the country in the same time period. That’s according to Pew Charitable Trusts’ latest Fiscal 50 data.
Pew’s Research Director Barb Rosewicz said their Fiscal 50 project evaluates a series of data about all 50 states.
Rosewicz said “basically what we found was that personal income in all states is now back above levels that they had before the start of the great recession, but that did not happen until the middle of last year.”
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“So some [states] are growing a lot faster than others, but state finances haven’t bounced back as quickly or as robustly as they did from previous recessions,” Rosewicz said, “so we wanted to be able to compare states and see how their economies are progressing.”
Illinoisans income has bounced back, but the rate places the state at the bottom of the pack.
“Compared with almost eight years ago Illinois has had the second slowest growth,” Rosewicz said. “So it is in 49th place among states.”
Meanwhile, Pew’s data shows since the beginning of the recession to now, Illinois’ neighboring states either doubled or tripled the growth of the Land of Lincoln.
Dan Long, executive director of the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, noted Illinois is experience the slowest growth since World War II.
However, Rosewicz said another factor Pew evaluates is tax revenue for states and data for Illinois is “interesting.”
“It has the fourth highest growth in tax revenue since the recession after we adjust for inflation,” Rosewicz said.
“It suggests that Illinois’ tax growth owes a lot in fact to the legislative tax changes that were put into effect during the recession and that have largely expired.”
However COGFA says Illinois spending versus revenue puts the state on pace to be more than $4 billion in the red for the current fiscal year.
Both COGFA’s Long and Pew’s Rosewicz note Illinois’ loss of population over the past couple of years.
As to Illinois’ performance in the last four quarters, Rosewicz says Illinois has done a little better.
“It’s growth rate still lags that of the U.S. It’s personal income has grown 3.1 percent over the most recent year.” That places Illinois at No. 30 among the 50 states for income growth in the past year.
Overall, Rosewicz says it’s important to understand the strength of economies.
“The economies are very important for residents, of course, because for one thing it affects how many jobs are being created,” Rosewicz said, “but it’s also really important for state government because the economy is a major driver of state finances.”