Illinois’ Aging Population Further Strains State Coffers

SPRINGFIELD, IL (IRN) – As the state looks to keep a lid on spending, it has a couple of trends that are difficult to overcome.

For one, the aging population is rising as people live longer. State budget chief Jerry Stermer says there are costs associated with that.

“Legislators would say, why is this number going up in the Department on Aging? Why’s that number going up, why can’t it be flat? And as many times as you say ‘rising aging population,’ the response was always, keep it flat,” he said.

Stermer says Department on Aging services are cheaper than putting people in nursing homes, but the cost will grow nevertheless.

Another problem is aging infrastructure. A recent report on the state’s financial crisis pegged the need at $300 billion, and criticized the state for having occasional capital programs with unusual revenue sources.

The current capital program, worth $30 billion, is funded by gambling revenue. Stermer says the state needs an ongoing effort to maintain and improve transportation infrastructure, schools and other public facilities.

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