Good crop report; Inflation affecting state revenue

First USDA crop report of 2022 gives Illinois good news

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued its first crop report for the fall 2022 harvest season, and it shows conditions in Illinois to be good overall. The report was compiled statewide, but concentrates mostly on fields which grow corn and soybeans, Illinois’ top two agricultural products.

In all, 69% of Illinois’ corn and soybean fields were rated to be in good-to-excellent condition. About one-eighth of the state’s field corn had been harvested as of the first weekend in October, but the opportunity afforded by the nice weather we saw last week has been sure to increase that figure. Ten percent of the state’s soybeans had been harvested during the same time period. The report found that dry soil conditions throughout the state made for good conditions for harvest machinery to operate.

This is also a good time to remind everyone to be on the alert for slow-moving farm machinery on the roads. Please drive carefully and give our farmers a little extra room as they move their equipment.

Inflation continues to have an impact on state tax revenue

As inflation rises and prices continue to go up, tax revenue to the state has been on the rise along with them, according to the latest state revenue report from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA). With the ongoing labor shortage driving up wages, COGFA found that personal and corporate income tax receipts went up by $361 million compared to one year ago. Sales tax revenue increased by $51 million over the previous year as shoppers made more purchases ahead of even more expected price hikes.

The total increase of $412 million in revenue from these two sources made up for the entirety of the change in the state’s revenue picture in September. Adjustments from other sources, like federal funds, did not show significant change compared to a year ago.

Short-term interest rates have been climbing all year and are now near the same level as they were before the financial crash of 2008-2009. These hikes have driven up the rates for mortgages, credit cards and other forms of consumer debt for Illinoisans and for people all over the country.

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

The Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology is reminding Illinoisans to avoid cyber risks when online. Utilizing cybersecurity best practices can help you better protect your personal information. Hackers, scam artists and identity thieves are always lurking, seeking to compromise and misuse any personal information they can find. During Cybersecurity Awareness Month, take a few minutes to make sure that you are as safe as you can be when you are online.

There are many steps you can take to keep yourself and your personal information safe. For example, you can limit the personal information you share online by changing privacy settings and not using location features. You should always keep your software applications and operating systems up-to-date, and create strong passwords which include upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. Be aware of offers that seem too good to be true or which need your personal information.

You can find many tips for staying safe by visiting ready.gov/cybersecurity.

How much do we owe?

As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $1,559,943,065 in unpaid bills to state vendors. One year ago, the backlog stood at $4.4 billion. This figure represents the amount of bills submitted to the office of the Comptroller and still awaiting payment. It does not include debts that can only be estimated, such as our unfunded pension liability which is subject to a wide range of factors and has been estimated to be more than $137 billion.

Did You Know?

Illinois has an official state fossil, the tully monster. The tully monster was a marine mammal which existed about 300 million years ago when Illinois was at the bottom of a large sea. It was about a foot long, had vertical fins and as many as eight teeth. Some tully monsters died in muddy marshes and their bones were protected by an iron-rich mineral which formed on them. The mineral preserved them until they were found in 1958 by an amateur archaeologist named Francis Tully in spoil heaps created by strip-mining along Mazon Creek in Grundy and Will Counties. So far, this is the only place in the world where a tully monster fossil has been found.

More news from around the state

Answers to frequently asked questions about the new Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug PPO plan

More lawsuits filed by law enforcement against the SAFE-T Act

Lawmakers propose a bill to go after fentanyl dealers to counteract decriminalization measure

This is 2022 Fire Prevention Week in Illinois

Tyson Foods to close Illinois offices, relocate employees to Arkansas

COVID worsened food insecurity across the U.S. Here’s how Illinois residents can get help

Illini ranked in AP Top 25 for first time since 2011