Update: Agriculture, Budget, Jobs & Taxes

APRIL 1, 2023


Illinois counties lead the U.S. in corn and soybean production.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has reported the final numbers for crop year 2022. According to the USDA, the top eleven U.S. counties for soybean yield per acre were all in Illinois when measured on a county-by-county basis. In central Illinois’ Piatt County, farmers brought in 74.2 bushels of beans per acre. Other high-ranking soybean yield counties, headed by Decatur’s Macon and Springfield’s Sangamon, are also located in Central Illinois.

With regards to Illinois’ 2022 corn crop, Illinois counties took America’s #1 through #5 honors in terms of total production in bushels. With 71 million bushels of corn produced, Bloomington-Normal’s McLean County grew more corn than any other county in the 50 states. The nation’s top-five corn list also included Iroquois, Livingston, and LaSalle counties, and was rounded out by Champaign-Urbana’s Champaign County.

In terms of statewide figures, Illinois was #1 among the 50 states in total soybeans grown and was #2 to longtime rival Iowa in total corn production. 


Rainy Day Fund moves upward past $1.2 billion.  House Republicans have repeatedly urged Illinois, one of the lowest-ranked U.S. states in terms of credit ratings, to change its budgetary ways in preparation for harsh times ahead. In March 2023, House Republican Leader Tony McCombie became one of the chief voices in Illinois calling for Illinois to build up a pool of money for future Illinois budget stabilization

Comptroller Susana Mendoza announced the payment of $150 million into the State’s Budget Stabilization Fund, a rainy-day fund intended to create a cash cushion in preparation for future changes in the State’s cash flow. With this deposit, the rainy day fund will now have $1.22 billion in it.    

Although this is a significant sum of money, Illinois’ high spending could outrun this resource in the next recession. With vast cash flows demanded for health care, education, pensions, and many other spending programs, the current $1.22 billion rainy day fund balance is equal to less than six days of Illinois general funds spending.


Illinois unemployment rate steady in February 2023, remains unchanged at 4.5%.  The jobless numbers were reported on March 23 by the Illinois Department of Employment Security. Although statewide nonfarm payroll numbers increased by 10,700 jobs in February, a comparable increase in the overall Illinois labor force meant that the unemployment rate remained unchanged from January. Illinois’ unemployment rate continued to be higher than the national rate of 3.6%. Illinois continues to have a higher unemployment rate than most U.S. states, and the highest rate of State and local taxes in the nation.

Total nonfarm jobs increased in thirteen metropolitan areas and decreased in one for the year ending February 2023, according to data released this week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security. Over-the-year, the unemployment rate decreased in seven areas, increased in five areas and was unchanged in two.

The metro areas which had the largest over-the-year percentage increases in total nonfarm jobs were the Bloomington MSA (+4.8%, +4,500), the Peoria MSA (3.9%, +6,400), and the Champaign-Urbana MSA (+3.4%, +4,000). Total nonfarm jobs in the Chicago Metropolitan Division were up +2.1% or +77,500. Total nonfarm jobs were down in the Illinois section of the St. Louis MSA (-0.4%, -1,000).

The metro areas with the largest unemployment rate decreases were in the Chicago Metropolitan Division (-0.9 point to 4.1%), the Rockford MSA (-0.8 point to 6.3%), and the Decatur MSA (-0.6 point to 5.9%). The largest unemployment rate increases were in the Lake County-Kenosha County Metro (+0.4 point to 5.4%), the Davenport-Moline-Rock Island IA-IL MSA (+0.3%, +4.6%) and the Elgin Metro (+0.3 point to 5.9%). The unemployment rate was unchanged in the Bloomington MSA (4.0%) and the Champaign-Urbana MSA (4.1%).


WalletHub survey finds Illinois scores 50th of the 50 states in terms of state and local tax rates.  The survey performed by WalletHub, a private-sector database and analysis firm, calculated the composite of the total State and local tax rates charged within each state. To make this number meaningful to families, the tax number was then contrasted with median U.S. household income.

When state and local taxes are added together, the effective state-by-state rate ranged from 6.05% to 15.05%, depending on state lines. Illinois scored dead last, with the tax burdens faced by Prairie State families taking up 15.05% of the income of a typical American household. This was 50th among the 50 states.

As in previous surveys, many of the lower-taxed states are located in the West or the Sunbelt.  States like Nevada (4th), Florida (6th), and Colorado (9th) are able to utilize their overall population growth (including urban population growth in fast-growing cities like Las Vegas, Tampa, and Denver) and their economic prosperity to reduce their tax burdens. The five states that border Illinois all have a lower tax burden than Illinois. Examples include Indiana (35th in WalletHub), Iowa (46th), Kentucky (40th), Missouri (30th), and Wisconsin (42nd).


Rep. Ryan Spain tours MTM Recognition in Princeton.  Deputy House Republican Leader Ryan Spain toured MTM Recognition in Princeton on Friday. MTM Recognition is the most comprehensive recognition solutions provider in the nation. It started with a dream, hard work and ingenuity and has become the leader in U.S. manufacturing of recognition awards as well as a recognition solutions provider.