$9 Billion Is a Lot of Money: How Much Could You Buy With Illinois' Budget Deficit?

New information from the Fiscal Futures Project of the Institute for Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois shows that Illinois' finances are in worse shape than previously predicted. By Fiscal Year 2016, the state will owe $9 billion in unpaid bills.

That's a lot of money, but it's hard to think about a number with so many zeros in concrete terms. It might be difficult for Illinoisans to remember that that $9 billion budget deficit is real money that is owed to real people and organizations from the state government.

Check out this infographic to help you think about $9 billion in terms that might make more sense in the life of an average Illinoisan. Check out the specific breakdowns after the infographic.


Here is what an average person could buy with $9 billion:

  • 4 billion $2.25 CTA rides (approximately enough to pay for every Chicagoan's daily commutes for the next four years)
  • 3.6 billion $2.50 gallons of gas (enough to fuel 14-gallon car once a week for nearly 5,000 years)
  • 3 billon $3 cups of coffee (enough for a cup of coffee every day for 8 million years)
  • 450 million $20 pizzas (enough to eat pizza for every meal for 411,000 years)

Check out Reboot Illinois to find out how much $9 billion could buy in larger purchases: How many Illinoisans could take a vacation to Paris or buy a new car with that money?

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