Illinois State Comptroller
Fiscal Focus
Published in
4 min readApr 1, 2024

“Last year, we really saw our hard work in building up the state’s reserves, paying bills on time and promoting fiscal stability and transparency come to fruition,” says Comptroller Susana Mendoza. “All indications point to Illinois as a premier destination to live, work and run a business.”

Rainy Day Fund Record

Fund Hits New High of $2 Billion… And Keeps Growing

In November, the state’s Budget Stabilization Fund, commonly referred to as the Rainy Day Fund, exceeded $2 billion for the first time in its 23-year history. The fund’s interest income also continued to grow, with additional dollars for the fund on the way in 2024.

In November 2022, the fund’s balance stood at $1.047 billion, for a year-over-year increase of 91.5%. The fund ended the 2023 calendar year with a balance of $2.019 billion.

With the increase in the fund balance, the investment income earned monthly by the fund has also grown considerably.

Looking at fiscal year 2023, the fund receipted $608,000 in interest in July 2022, but by the end of the fiscal year earned more than $6 million a month. Through December of fiscal year 2024, the fund had already receipted almost $44 million in interest income, for an average of more than $7 million a month.

The fund will also begin to receive additional dollars beginning in the 2024 calendar year.

As part of the bipartisan agreement to repay unemployment insurance debt incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rainy Day Fund will receive $45 million a year for the next 10 years, providing a stream of additional revenue to Illinois’ reserve fund. In addition to the annual $45 million, monthly interest earnings and a monthly $3.75 million General Revenue Fund transfer, the fund also continues to receive 10% of adult-use cannabis sales revenues each month.


FY 2024 THROUGH DEC 2023

In December, The Pew Charitable Trusts released its most recent data showing how many days each state could cover its General Funds expenditures for fiscal year 2023 using only its reserve fund.

Based on the data, derived from information provided by the National Association of State Budget Officers in its Spring 2023 survey, Illinois’ Rainy Day Fund could last 13.8 days. Illinois ranks 47th of all states, an improvement from its rank of 48 in the previous Pew analysis, even though Illinois’ Rainy Day Fund is at its strongest balance since its creation.

According to The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Midwest median ranks lowest among all regions. The median of the 12 Midwestern states is 40.8 days, while the median of all other regions is more than 51 days. The Midwest’s median would not change even if Illinois’ reserve fund could last 39 days.

For detailed information about the fund, visit the IOC’s Rainy Day Fund webpage, here.

Another Credit Rating Upgrade

Illinois Receives Ninth Consecutive Upgrade

Continuing Illinois’ two-year trend of credit rating upgrades following 17 years of downgrades, Fitch Ratings delivered an upgrade from BBB+ to A- in November. The upgrade marks the first time since October 2015 that Illinois’ credit rating is in “A” territory from all three major rating agencies. S&P Global Ratings upgraded Illinois in February 2023 from BBB+ to A-, and Moody’s Investors Service upgraded Illinois in March 2023 from Baa1 to A3.

Fitch specifically pointed to Illinois’ Rainy Day Fund in its rating action, noting that the fund has improved to historically high levels, providing an important fiscal cushion, while also crediting the state’s normalized accounts payable and “continued progress towards more sustainable budgeting practices.”

Of the nine credit rating upgrades Illinois has received since June 2021, six came in less than a year, between April 2022 and March 2023.

General Revenue Fund Payment Cycle

IOC Stays on Top of GRF Bills, Oldest Voucher at 14 Days to End December

At the end of the day December 31, the oldest General Revenue Fund voucher at the Illinois Office of Comptroller was 14 business days. The average number of days for the entire 2023 calendar year was just under 14, at 13.8.

“The upgrade…to ‘A-’ from ‘BBB+’ reflects the state’s ability to execute on significant planned reserve contributions and maintain improvements in budget management including normalized accounts payable.”
– Fitch Ratings

This chart shows where this 14 days compares to the end of the calendar year and the end of the fiscal year since fiscal year 2018, starting with 191 days at the end of October 2017, about a week before the State received more than $6 billion in General Obligation bond proceeds to help pay down the record $16.7 billion General Funds bill backlog.

*This payment cycle does not apply to net interfund transfers, which made up $242 million, or 19.0%, of the IOC General Funds and Health Insurance Reserve Fund payables as of December 31, 2023.



Illinois State Comptroller
Fiscal Focus

The official account for Illinois State Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza. Follow us for office services and #ILbudget updates.