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June 30, 2000


SPRINGFIELD - Governor George H. Ryan today announced the State of Illinois will end the Fiscal Year 2000 with a record general funds balance of at least $1.5 billion.

The Fiscal Year 2000 balance is the highest end of year cash balance in state history, breaking last year's record balance of $1.351 billion by an estimated $150 million.

Fiscal Year 2000 marks the ninth consecutive year that the end-of-year general funds balance has improved from the previous year, and the fourth consecutive year that the balance is sufficient to pay all lapse period spending, resulting in a positive budgetary balance.

"In addition to record funding increases for education and increased spending for human services and public safety, we have a record amount of money in the treasury, proof that we have a strong economy in Illinois," Ryan said. "The finances of the State of Illinois have never been better.

"With this balance, we will be able to pay all outstanding bills for the old fiscal year with revenues from that year - and we'll still have money left over," he added. Based on current reports, Ryan said tax revenues continue to rise beyond estimates, indicating that in Illinois the economy is sound and productive. For several months, unemployment has remained below five percent, its lowest mark in a generation.

In addition to state revenue projections, Ryan based his analysis on reports received from bond rating agencies in New York. "Our general obligation bond rating has been upgraded by one agency, Fitch IBCA, and another agency, Standard and Poor's, officially upgraded its outlook on state government's credit from a 'stable' rating to 'positive.' Each of these decisions means that the state will pay less in interest on routine bonds sold to finance state programs and projects, which saves taxpayers money," the governor said.

The state's $48 billion budget for fiscal year 2001 spends a record amount of money on education, employee training, health programs, public safety and other social services. In addition to prudent spending increases, the state will provide more than $750 million in tax relief for families, consumers, homeowners and seniors.

During this fiscal year, the Ryan administration will create a $225 million "rainy day fund," to use for an unforeseen financial emergency, or possible down turn in the state's current robust economy. "Let me make it clear: Our state is no where close to any kind of fiscal emergency, as some warn. Our month-to-month 'checkbook balance' in the state budget's General Funds account does fluctuate from month to month," Ryan said. "But over the course of the last year, the state's obligations to schools, health care for the poor, local governments, public safety and transportation improvements are being paid on time - with money to spare."

Fiscal Year 2000 lapse period spending is now projected to be $800 million, similar to the Fiscal Year 1999 level. Lapse period spending is spending that occurs during the first 60 days of the fiscal year from prior appropriations.


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