Reports

A Case Study on Economic Development Agreements

Release: May 16, 2020

CTBA, commissioned by the Daily Herald and ProPublica, performed an analysis of the 1989 economic development agreement (“EDA”) entered into by Hoffman Estates with Sears, Roebuck, and Company (“Sears”). The purpose of the analysis was to determine how effective the EDA proved to be and to quantify the impact the resulting development had on Hoffman Estates. The results of the analysis were utilized in a series of articles published by the Daily Herald and ProPublica.

Using a difference-in-differences model, the following report compares the economic performance of Hoffman Estates to a control group in order to isolate and identify the impact of development as a result of the EDA. The results suggest that the impact of the development generated by the Sears EDA was temporary, with a short-term spike in property values but no lasting impact on the growth trajectory of property value in Hoffman Estates, while failing to generate the job growth promised by the EDA.

Potential Impact of a Property Tax Freeze on School Funding

Release: May 13, 2020

Illinois’ overreliance on property taxes is a result of historic shift of funding K-12 Education from the state-level to the local-level.  While many would benefit from a temporary property tax freeze, there are also costs associated with a property tax freeze—particularly when it comes to funding an adequate education for millions of Illinois school children. A property tax freeze could pose substantial costs to students across the state by limiting the amount of funding districts could receive compared to the current law in which there is no property tax freeze. Using 2019 Illinois Report Card and average year-to-year growth in: (i) K-12 funding under the EBF; (ii) property tax revenue; and (iii) funding of mandated categoricals, the short report, Potential Impact of a Property Tax Freeze on School Fundinghighlights some of those consequences that a property tax freeze could have, not only on school funding, but along racial lines, as well.

Setting the Record Straight on Illinois’ Fiscal Shortcomings

Release: May 5, 2020

This report shows how the data make it quite clear that: Illinois incurred pension debt—under both Republicans and Democrats-- to mask its fiscal problems, not to pay irresponsibly high benefits; Illinois is not a high spending state, and in fact has cut spending on services in real terms by more than 23% since FY2000; that over $9 out of every $10 Illinois, and frankly every other state in America, spends on services goes to the four core areas of Education (including Pre-K, K-12, and Higher Ed), Healthcare, Human Services and Public Safety—meaning those are the services which are imperiled if the feds don’t come through with a significant relief package for state governments suffering revenue loss from the downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic; and the Pritzker Administration has actually pushed a number of fiscal initiatives that are actually responsible and counter some of the poor practices of the past.

Analysis of Illinois’ FY2020 Enacted General Fund Budget

Release: October 31, 2019

In his first year in office, Governor J. B. Pritzker signed a General Fund budget that the General Assembly passed into law — something it took his predecessor four years to accomplish. And while both the General Fund budget for fiscal year (“FY”) 2020 and the Governor are new, the fiscal problems which continue to afflict the General Fund are not. In fact, these problems are both longstanding and structural.

Update: Addressing Illinois’ Pension Debt Crisis With Reamortization

Release: October 21, 2019

Illinois' five state pension systems face a debt crisis after years of intentional borrowing from state contributions. The crisis is compounded by a backloaded repayment plan that calls for unrealistic, unsustainable state contributions in future years, putting funding for crucial public services at risk. Because the crisis is about debt, rather than benefits being earned by current and future employees, attempts to solve the problem through benefit cuts have failed. CTBA proposes resolving the pension debt crisis by reamortizing our payment schedule, creating a sustainable, level-dollar plan that saves the state $45 billion and gets the pension systems 70 percent funded by 2045. The state of Illinois has foregone $22 billion in savings since CTBA originally proposed to reamortize the debt in 2018. To bridge the higher contributions called for in the first several years of the reamortization plan, CTBA suggests using bonds to ensure current services do not have to be cut.

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