SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Illinois’ Rainy Day Fund, the state’s main saving account, now has over $1 billion inside of it, a record high, thanks to the latest deposit by State Comptroller Susana Mendoza.
Mendoza announced on Thursday that she had deposited $180 million into the fund, accomplishing a goal she had set of having $1 billion in the fund by year’s end. This latest deposit is the last based on appropriations per the most-recently approved state budget.
“We’re saving today to invest in tomorrow,” Mendoza said. “This latest infusion proves that we are prioritizing paying down our debts, addressing the pension shortfall and not putting the problems of yesterday on the backs of future generations.”
The problems of yesterday included a state budget impasse that lasted from 2015 to 2017 and decimated the Rainy Day Fund. There was just over $48,000 inside when Mendoza took office.
The appropriation was supported by Governor Pritzker and approved by the Illinois General Assembly earlier this year. The most recent budget also includes paying an extra $500 million into the Pension Stabilization Fund, which will lower pension debt liabilities by $1.8 billion.
The General Assembly has also approved an annual $45 million to be placed into the Rainy Day Fund starting next fiscal year.
“Building a robust emergency reserve account is responsible. And the credit rating agencies agree,” Mendoza said. “They cited the state’s infusion into reserves as one reason for recent upgrades. Better credit ratings mean better rates on bonds, and that means more savings for taxpayers and better finances for the state overall.”
Illinois has earned six credit upgrades since June 29, 2021, the first upgrades in over 20 years.
Mendoza will continue to call for more regular automatic deposits into the Rainy Day and the Pension Stabilization Fund during a strong economy without having to depend on one-time infusions of future legislatures. She is planning to ask the General Assembly to take up HB 4118 during the fall veto session, which will require additional annual contributions to the funds.
“Further saving and paying down our debts when the state can afford it will better prepare us for the next fiscal downtown or crisis, such as a recession, that may come through no fault of our own,” Mendoza said.