Prosperity study shows mixed bag for Illinois

(The Center Square) – A recent study on prosperity in the United States has good news and bad news for Illinois.

The state ranked 23rd overall in the report conducted by the Legatum Institute, a London-based think tank and educational charity with a global vision to lift people out of poverty.

“Illinois is definitely doing some things well,” said Shaun Flanagan, director of the Centre for Metrics at Legatum. “It’s moved up five places in the rankings. Ten years ago, it was sort of underperforming when compared to the Midwest, but now it’s actually outperforming the Midwest as a whole.”

The U.S. Prosperity Index analyzed a number of factors to evaluate the states in both economic and social well-being. The three main categories were open economies, inclusive societies and empowered people.

“One of its biggest strengths [of Illinois] is the market access and infrastructure where it ranks 10th overall,” Flanagan said. “There we see it’s got a good transport system. It also has reasonably strong and good access to reliable electricity. And we’ve also seen an improvement in its internet access and speed, which is important for business.”

On the other hand, the state ranked 49th in terms of economic quality, and dead last in fiscal sustainability.

“We’re trying to look at how well-placed the state is to function in terms of its financial position,” Flanagan said. “We look at things like state reserves capacity, or how many days could the state survive if income were to dry up. That’s fallen in Illinois. We also look at the sort of revenue to expenditure ratio, the state budget balance, the state pension funding, as well as the government credit rating.”

Recent report show Illinois only has $1.19 million in the state Budget Stabilization fund.

The state also lagged behind when it comes to government integrity.

“We’re looking at corruption generally and a number of measures on corruption including a corruption reflection index,” Flanagan said. “And when you look at those three measures Illinois is 41st, 43rd, and 38th. From that aspect, it’s still not performing as well as it could.”

Massachusetts came in at No. 1 in the report, with Connecticut in second place.

Mississippi and Louisiana took the bottom two positions.

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