Associate Professor Todd Ely was interviewed by WBEZ in Chicago for the story “How Much Has Illinois’ Budget Crisis Cost Each State Resident?” that aired on June 1, 2017. “I know, you get lost in the zeros when you’re dealing with these billions,” Ely said as we looked at a spreadsheet together. It came to about $906 per person. But that’s not the full tab. By law, the state pays interest on its bill backlog. And it has been losing ground on the state’s pension obligations. Illinois had $111 billion in unfunded obligations when the crisis started, and the state’s latest estimate puts that number at $129 billion.
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