Initial budget details reveal unbalanced plan | Illinois

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(The Center Square) – The proposed Illinois budget lawmakers are expected to pass before the end of Monday looks to spend $42.3 billion with about $41.3 billion from the General Revenue Fund, leaving a deficit of $1 billion.

With just hours left before the end of the spring session, lawmakers revealed budget details, but the measure to implement the budget has yet been released as of 3 p.m.

Among the spending included in the plan is about $9.2 billion for K-12 education. Higher education would get $1.9 billion. Public safety would get around $1.9 billion. Human services would get around $7.4 billion. General services would get $1.4 billion. Medicaid would get $7.5 billion. Debt service would be around $1.8 billion. The most expensive top-line item in the budget is pensions, which would get nearly $9.5 billion.

The budget keeps the Local Government Distributive Fund, tax dollars the state collects and shares with local governments, whole. There’s also another $1 billion for capital projects, pays down $2 billion in borrowing, something that could save $100 million interests, and the proposal fully funds the evidence-based funding model. 

“There are no tax increases in this budget,” said budget bill sponsor and House Majority Leader Greg Harris, D-Chicago. Harris also said the budget plan is balanced, but didn’t address the difference between the spending plan of $42.3 billion based on $41.3 billion in GRF. 

Several tax incentive programs would be reduced or eliminated for a total of around $636 million under the terms of the budget plan.

As for the $8.1 billion the state is getting from federal taxpayers, Harris said there will be hundreds of millions in funding for certain industries such as the tourism and hospitality industry, immediate programs to combat violence, mental health and substance abuse issues and other programs, but how to use the bulk of the money will be determined in the months ahead, Harris said.

The budget outlines $100 million for the Unemployment Trust Fund, which is reportedly $5 billion in the red. Harris said the $100 million is for interest, but not for paying down the UI debt created by the pandemic and the government’s response to it, which included temporarily closing many businesses across the state.

“Not in this particular budget, but that’s a topic of conversation going forward,” Harris said.

The measure is expected first to be debated and approved in the Illinois House and then advanced to the Illinois Senate for final approval.

“It’s something that we note every year, but I just want to note again how difficult and genuinely challenging it is to analyze a complicated state budget proposal that was introduced this morning at 12:15,” said state Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon. “It’s 700 pages.” 

The session ends at midnight Monday.



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Caleb Alexander

Caleb Alexander

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