November 28, 2011

IGPA Analyzes State Economy for University Senate

The Midwest is leading the nation during the recovery in its manufacturing (above) and agricultural sectors, said David Merriman, Associate Director and Professor, IGPA.

By William S. Bike

DAVID MERRIMAN, Associate Director and Professor, Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA), and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Professor, College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, spoke on “Illinois’ Economic and Fiscal Challenges and Responsibilities” to the University Senate recently.

MERRIMAN EXPLAINED that the University’s Board of Trustees requests such analyses from the IGPA.

HE NOTED that Illinois and the Midwest are “recovering slowly” economically—yet the “Midwest is doing well relative to the rest of the nation,” he said. “In fact, the Midwest is leading the nation during the recovery in its manufacturing and agricultural sectors.” Still, he noted that three years after the start of the previous two recessions, “The Midwest had already experienced expansion of over ten percent. Not this time. The recovery looks more like tunneling out of a hole than a vertical assent.”

MERRIMAN SHOWED an Unemployment Rate graph, in which Illinois unemployment mirrored that of the U.S. “The Illinois economy is like the U.S. economy,” he said. “So it’s not like Illinois is doing something wrong. Our economy is keeping pace with that of the U.S.

ILLINOIS, another chart showed, was running a Consolidated Budget surplus in 1997 and 1998. Today, there is a deficit of about $9 billion.

ANOTHER CHART showed total State expenditures from 1997 to 2012, which revealed that the share to higher education has dropped from about seven percent to about four percent.

MERRIMAN CONCLUDED that the State asking for a recission (return of funds from the University) was not out of the question.

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