June 30, 2010
Last month the State of Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) released a report entitled “Sales Tax in Illinois.". According to the report, in FY2009 general revenue fund sales tax collections totaled $6.77 billion, down 6.1% from $7.21 billion in the prior fiscal year. It is estimated that general revenue fund sales tax collections will continue to decline in FY2010, falling 8.5% from the FY2009 level.
In its report COGFA highlights the seriousness of the recent sales tax decline. Between FY1950 and FY2008, the report states that the general revenue fund sales tax collections had only declined five times and never two years in a row. The two largest declines prior to FY2009 were -2.9% in FY1950 and -1.9% in FY1981.
COGFA also releases monthly briefings that summarize economic, revenue and pension funding trends. According to the May 2010 monthly briefing, year-to-date sales tax receipts in Illinois are down $454 million, or 7.3% from last year’s collections.
This news will not come as a surprise to local governments in Illinois that rely on sales tax revenue as a means of funding operations. During its June board meeting, DuPage County learned that sale tax revenue is 7.7% below the projected year-to-date figure of $39.3 million. DuPage County is contemplating a shift of resources from its capital program to compensate for revenue shortfalls and higher than anticipated expenditures.
Looking ahead, COGFA expects that FY2011 will be a transitional year with slow sales tax revenue growth of approximately 1.6%. As part of its FY2010 appropriations bill, Cook County projected a decline in revenues it expects to receive from the local portion of the State of Illinois sales tax, also known as the Retailer’s Occupation Tax. In FY2006 Cook County reported actual revenues from the Retailer’s Occupation Tax totaling nearly $5.7 million. After falling to actual collections of $3.0 million in FY2009, the County is projecting this revenue stream to hold steady at $2.8 million through FY2013.