Illinois revenues drop $1.1B in fiscal 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic

Illinois revenues dropped more than $1.1 billion in the fiscal year that ended last month due to the coronavirus’ impact on the state’s economy, according to state officials.

The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, the General Assembly’s bipartisan fiscal forecasting arm, found that the state ended the 2020 fiscal year with a $1.135 billion decline in base revenues compared to the previous fiscal year.

Although tax revenues declined across the board, the steep drop of $947 million in personal income tax had the highest impact overall. Corporate income taxes saw a $430 million decrease, nearly a 14% decline. Sales tax collections fell by $206 million.

Illinois’ fiscal year spans from July 1 to June 30, according to the State Journal-Register.

COGFA Revenue Director Jim Muschinske said revenues were performing well during the first three quarters of the fiscal year.

“That all changed in the final quarter as economic and subsequent revenue impacts related to COVID-19 abruptly manifested,” Muschinske said.

Meanwhile, Muschinske added that June showed some encouraging signs of uptick, with revenue from personal income taxes up $173 million compared to June last year. He said he doesn’t yet know the reasons for the increase but noted it may be because of people filing income tax returns before the July 15 deadline.

Benjamin Varner, a senior analyst and economic specialist for COGFA, said state and national economies have displayed some improvement, but there could be some lingering threats.

“Although the improving economy may have seen a trough and begun to expand again, it does not mean that the economy is in a good place or could not tumble further,” he said. “The economy remains well below its peak. It will need continued strong growth to return to previous levels.”