Changing Expenditure Patterns in Illinois Municipalities
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The economic recovery in Illinois following the Great Recession was relatively sluggish. Per capita expenditures by municipalities with a population of 25,000 or larger increased by only about 1% annually between 2012 and 2019 after controlling for inflation. In some instances, these municipalities lost population or had decreases in their tax base. Some made slight shifts to capital expenditures, perhaps to adjust from cutbacks during the recession period but these changes were relatively small. This article exams expenditure trends by size of municipality and location within Illinois. Substantial differences are found between those in the Chicago area versus downstate. Downstate municipalities had the lowest percentage increase in per capita expenditures, and those with populations between 25,000 and 50,000 reported spending less. Cutbacks occurred in health, cultural, education, and sanitation expenditures. We also provide insights into potential impacts of the recent COVID-19 economic downturn on local government expenditures.