Commission Bios

Service Information

Dr. Natalie Davila

Natalie Davila works as a public finance economist specializing in tax and economic development policies, working regularly with public and private sector organizations to develop revenue forecasts, fiscal plans and evaluation of economic development incentives.  Her ongoing work includes partnering with the Illinois Municipal League to develop revenue forecasts for its members.  As the Illinois Department of Revenue’s Research Director and Chief Economist for the State of Illinois, she was responsible for forecasting more than $30 billion annually in state revenue.  At the Department of Revenue, she established a research office that converted data to information to help senior government officials and stakeholders understand complex tax and economic development issues.  

Natalie received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago in Public Policy Analysis.  She holds a MA in Applied Economics from the University of Michigan and a BSc. in Economics and Accounting from Queens University, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Natalie has also served as an assistant professor of economics at Roosevelt University and an adjunct professor in Public Policy at DePaul University.


Dr. David Merriman

David Merriman is the Stukel Presidential Professor in the Dept. of Pub. Admin., Univ. of Illinois at Chicago & a Senior Scholar at the Inst. of Gov't and Public Affairs.  He has done many studies on state and local public finance. Topics include Walmart’s impact on local retail markets, tax increment finance, business tax incentives, property tax assessment caps, and state budget policies. He serves as an associate editor of Economic Development Quarterly. He frequently advises elected officials and their staffs and is frequently quoted in the media. H has served on the Illinois Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors under Governors Quinn, Rauner and Pritzker. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Dr. Paula R. Worthington

Paula R. Worthington is a Senior Lecturer at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, where she also serves as academic director of the School’s Policy Labs program and faculty lead on its MPP program.  She is consistently recognized for excellence in teaching, having received nine teaching awards since joining Harris in 2004.  While on leave from Harris in 2017-2018, Worthington served as senior economist at the Council of Economic Advisers in Washington, D.C.   

Worthington’s interests are in state and municipal fiscal policies.  She is currently co-chair of the Metropolitan Planning Council’s Transportation Committee and a member of the state of Illinois’s Budgeting for Results Commission.  Worthington received her PhD in economics from Northwestern University in 1988, and prior to joining Harris, she served in numerous positions at the Federal Reserve Banks of New York and Chicago and at Northwestern University.