Illinois isn’t doing well with finances, and a new report puts the state towards the bottom of the list of struggling states. (Ryan Denham/WJBC)
By Nick Gale
CHICAGO - An annual report on how states are financially managed puts Illinois near the bottom of the list –but not at the bottom.
The report, put out by 24/7 Wall St., a Delaware corporation set up to run an internet-based financial news and opinion operation, says Illinois is the 48th best-run state in the nation, just ahead of Rhode Island (49) and California (50).
The reports looks at several factors, including debt per capita, budget deficit, unemployment, median household incomes, and the percentage of people below the poverty line. It also takes into account the states’ credit ratings.
Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, says it’s not surprising.
“It doesn’t come as a surprise that Illinois is one of the worst ranked states because of the state’s continuing financial and particular pension funding crisis,” Msall said.
He says it’s disappointing to see a state with a strong economic base have continued financial challenges.
Msall says the biggest thing lawmakers could do to help bail the state out is to reform public pensions. Illinois has $96 billion in unfunded pension liabilities.
Some top lawmakers are hopeful to take up pension reform during the Lame Duck or Fall Veto Sessions.
The states that topped 24/7 Wall St.’s list include North Dakota (1), Wyoming (2) and Nebraska (3).