Illinois – April 23, 2009

Use of Funds

An estimated 90 percent of Recovery Act funding provided to states and localities nationwide in fiscal year 2009 (through Sept. 30, 2009) will be for health, transportation and education programs. The three largest programs in these categories are the Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) awards, highways, and the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund.

Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) Funds

  • As of April 3, 2009, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) had made about $992 million in increased FMAP grant awards to Illinois.
  • As of April 1, 2009, Illinois has drawn down about $117.1 million, or about 12 percent of its initial increased FMAP grant awards.
  • Illinois plans to use funds made available as a result of the increased FMAP in fiscal years 2009 and 2010 to fill a Medicaid budget gap, permitting the state to move from an average 90-day payment cycle to a cycle of no more than 30 days for all of its providers, including payments hospitals and nursing homes.

Transportation—Highway Infrastructure Investment

  • Illinois was apportioned about $936 million for highway infrastructure investment on March 2, 2009, by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • As of April 16, 2009, the U.S. Department of Transportation had obligated $606.3 million for 214 Illinois projects. Illinois Department of Transportation officials stated that they will award most contracts based on a competitive bidding process, but they will use a quality based selection process for approximately $27 million in engineering services contracts.
  • These projects include activities such as resurfacing highways and repairing bridge decks.
  • Illinois will request reimbursement from the U.S. Department of Transportation as the state makes payments to contractors.

U.S. Department of Education State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (Initial Release)

  • Illinois was allocated about $1.4 billion from the initial release of these funds on April 2, 2009 by the U.S. Department of Education. On April 20, 2009, these funds became available to the state. Illinois is expecting to receive an additional $678 million by September 30, 2009.
  • Before receiving the funds, states are required to submit an application that provides several assurances to the Department of Education. These include assurances that they will meet maintenance of effort requirements (or that they will be able to comply with waiver provisions) and that they will implement strategies to meet certain educational requirements, including increasing teacher effectiveness, addressing inequities in the distribution of highly qualified teachers, and improving the quality of state academic standards and assessments. The state submitted its application on April 10, 2009.
  • Illinois plans to use all of its $2 billion in State Fiscal Stabilization funds for K-12 and higher education activities to address the layoffs and other cutbacks many district and public colleges and universities are facing in their fiscal year 2009 and 2010 budgets.

Illinois is also receiving additional Recovery Act funds under other programs, such as programs under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) (commonly known as No Child Left Behind); programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); and two programs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture—one for administration of the Temporary Food Assistance Program and one for competitive equipment grants targeted to low income districts from the National School Lunch Program.

Safeguarding & TransparencyBack to top

To provide accountability and transparency in how these funds are being spent, the state has established a high level Executive Committee and a separate working group to oversee Recovery Act compliance across agencies and departments. It has also developed a Web site (www.recovery.illinois.gov) that contains information about the use of Recovery Act funds. The state is in the process of performing a risk assessment of all state programs receiving Recovery Act funds to identify potential vulnerabilities. It will use the state's Single Audit—a state-level audit of the largest programs receiving federal money—as a tool in identifying these risks. State agencies also reported that they are capable of tracking their Recovery Act funds separately from other program funds by tagging them with a special accounting or funding code. For the most part, these codes will permit agencies to then rely on existing processes to monitor and report on how these funds are being spent.

Assessing the Effects of SpendingBack to top

Officials at several state agencies indicated that they can track various performance measures for projects funded through the Recovery Act by utilizing existing systems. However, according to officials in the Governor's office and other state agencies, more guidance is needed on definitions for job creation and retention measures to adequately measure their impact.

For More InformationBack to top

The above excerpts are taken from GAO's April 23, 2009 Bimonthly Review of the Recovery Act:

Recovery Act: As Initial Implementation Unfolds in States and Localities, Continued Attention to Accountability Issues Is Essential
GAO-09-580, April 23, 2009
For more information on Illinois within the report, please see the following pages:
Appendix VIII: Illinois pages: 135 – 146
GAO Contact
portrait of of James C. Cosgrove

James C. Cosgrove

Illinois state team

cosgrovej@gao.gov

(202) 512-7114