On February 15, 2023, Governor Pritzker delivered the first budget address of his second term to the 103rd General Assembly. This budget address was markedly different than any previous one delivered by Pritzker—or any other Illinois governor dating back to Jim Edgar in the mid-1990s. The reason: Illinois’ General Fund is in the healthiest fiscal condition it has been for decades.
Things have definitely changed since Governor Pritzker was first sworn into office in 2019. Back then, he inherited an $8 billion backlog of unpaid bills from Governor Rauner’s Administration. A budget hole of that size 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 for well over two decades prior.