(The Center Square) – As part of the $6 trillion in taxpayer money that federal lawmakers committed to spending in response to the pandemic, about $162 billion is earmarked for Illinois governments, schools and private businesses.
A website from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget shows taxpayers where Congress and federal administrators are sending their money. Illinois has around $162 billion committed.
The federal spending is unprecedented, said Marc Goldwein, senior vice president at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
“Over about a two-and-a-half-year period we’ll spend about twice as much as we did in five years of the Great Recession,” Goldwein said.
Actions in Congress and administrative moves by the Trump and Biden administrations mean $162 billion is targeted for Illinois.
The total amount committed or already spent includes $64 billion in loans and grants for small, medium and large businesses, aid for local and state governments totaling more than $14.1 billion and nearly $9 billion for K-12 schools and higher education.
The spending crosses all sectors, Goldwein said.
“Higher Medicaid matches, higher education money, transit money, but then, of course, the citizens of all the states got money through unemployment benefits, through checks, through the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses and through a variety of other programs,” he said.
While all states get funds, Illinois was an outlier for borrowing from a new Federal Reserve program that bought bonds from governmental bodies that needed immediate assistance.
“As it turned out almost nobody sold them those bonds because they didn’t need to. The exception being the state of Illinois and the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority, the MPA,” Goldwein said.
Illinois borrowed about $3 billion and plans to pay it down with the budget that begins Thursday.
Goldwein thinks the overall spending went too far, “but overall I think this was a time that we needed to borrow and it’s paid off in terms of supporting income and helping support economic recovery.”
The CRFB’s website, COVIDMoneyTracker.org, includes a tool for tracking specific spending related to the pandemic.
According to COVIDMoneyTracker.org, of the $160 billion Illinois is allowed, about $24 billion has not yet been committed or distributed.