Rep. Bunting’s Springfield News Update for April 21

In this issue:

  • State revenue falls sharply in March
  • Illinois leads nation in AP testing increase
  • In the hot seat
  • Illinois headlines

Thank you for reading my e-newsletter. For the latest news from state government or to share your ideas and opinions, please visit my legislative website at

State revenue declines in March

Last week I shared with you the positive news about Illinois adding money to its emergency savings account, the so-called “Rainy Day Fund,” but also shared a warning that expenditures might soon exceed revenues. This week there is another warning about the state’s fiscal condition.

A report from the non-partisan Committee on Government Forecasting and Accountability shows that the state’s general funds revenues, which cover ongoing state spending programs, dropped by $563 million in March 2023, compared to March 2022. The drop in revenue is a warning sign about possible future fiscal challenges the state could face if the economy slows down. The current budget is built around the assumption that tax revenue will remain robust.

A big part of the decline was a fall in personal income tax receipts, but corporate income tax payments were also down last month. Some other sources of revenue, like sales taxes, liquor and cigarette taxes, were flat compared to one year ago. If this trend continues it will be more important than ever for legislators to act responsibly when crafting next year’s state budget and get our spending under control.

Illinois sees nation’s biggest increase in AP testing

Many Illinois high schools offer Advanced Placement, or AP, classes, which can give students the opportunity to earn college credit for advanced classes taken in high school. Students in Illinois are taking advantage of this opportunity in a big way. According to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), Illinois students had the biggest jump in the nation in AP participation and performance.

Students who score 3 or higher on the AP exam at the conclusion of the high school class can present this score to a college for credit. Illinois colleges and universities offer 100% credit for AP coursework. In the Class of 2022, 55,025 Illinois graduates took an AP exam, with two-thirds of them scoring a 3 or higher, enough to claim college credit.

Ten years before, the number of graduates taking the AP exam was 42% lower. ISBE believes this 42% increase was the largest increase among graduates in any of the 50 states.

In addition to AP classes, Illinois has also seen a surge in students enrolled in dual credit courses, from just over 60,000 five years ago to near 90,000 last year, a 30% increase.

In the hot seat

Representative Jed Davis and I were literally in the “hot seat” last week with a bright, warm sun beating down on our backs during a legislative breakfast with the Grundy Economic Development Council. We were also joined by Senators Sue Rezin and Tom Bennett. What a great event with a fantastic crowd. Thank you, GEDC, for the invitation, and thank you to everyone who attended.

Summer internship available

I am offering a paid summer internship in my district office during June and July. The program will give students a rewarding opportunity to be immersed in state government and actively engage in all aspects of the office, from policy creation to constituent engagement. For more details, or to apply, please contact my office by May 1.

Our current bill backlog

When a vendor provides the state with goods and services, they submit the bill to the Illinois Comptroller for payment. The Comptroller processes the paperwork and pays the bill when funds are available in the state’s checking account. Currently the total amount of unpaid bills is $1,567,345,746. This figure changes daily. Last year at this time the state had $2.7 billion in bills awaiting payment. This only includes bills submitted to the Comptroller for payment, not unfunded debts like the state’s pension liability, which is well over $100 billion.

Illinois headlines

“Drop it and Drive” during Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Illinois House Republicans demand reforms to attract businesses

IDOT invites applications for $2.5 million in transit grants

Demand for Illinois ag teachers is strong