SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS / AP) – The Illinois legislature passed the midnight deadline to approve a $ 42 billion state budget on Tuesday morning, and Gov. JB Pritzker said he would sign the spending plan when it reaches his office.
After the Illinois House and Illinois Senate approved the spending plan, largely along party lines, Senate Speaker Don Harmon, a Democrat from Chicago, tabled a motion to reconsider the vote, which prevented legislation from going immediately to the governor’s office, but he withdrew that motion by Tuesday afternoon. It’s unclear how soon lawmakers will officially send the budget to the governor for signature.
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The budget plan approved by the majority of Democrats is based on sources of tax revenue that rebounded much faster than expected from the global pandemic and includes $ 2.5 billion in spending from a multi-year federal relief plan.
The plan developed on the scheduled last day of the Legislative Assembly’s spring session incorporated only part of the $ 8 billion Illinois expected in COVID-19 relief funds that Congress approved last winter – but that pot includes $ 1.5 billion in additional construction projects.
House Majority Leader Greg Harris delivered a balanced budget that also restores the additional $ 350 million for public schools that was pledged each year in a school funding overhaul in 2017, but which Governor JB Pritzker initially said he should be ignored for a second year in a row.
“We are very fortunate that our income has increased,” said Harris, a Democrat from Chicago.
The budget offers a much rosier picture than the “pain” – deep budget cuts – according to Pritzker they were inevitable after voters rejected his draft constitutional amendment in November to allow a progressive income tax system that would hit the richest harder and generate an additional $ 3 billion a year. year.
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Republicans have denounced the ballot initiative as a blank check to the spendthrift Democrats, who control both houses of the General Assembly as well as the governor’s office. As revenues continued to beat expectations, they persisted in saying that Pritzker had more than enough money.
Their reward came in the form of a Pritzker concession to lessen the incentives for business and job creation they negotiated in 2019 with the Democrat, tax breaks the governor was touting at the time, but which he now calls unapproachable âloopholesâ. Budget-making Democrats planned to cut three programs to generate $ 636 million in additional revenue. In February, Pritzker proposed cutting eight incentive programs to save $ 1 billion.
Sectors of state affected by the pandemic would get $ 1.5 billion from Illinois’ allocation of the American Rescue Plan Act. Hundreds of millions of dollars would be earmarked for the Department of Social Services for programs to help the homeless, prevent suicide, counsel school children through last year’s trauma, and provide services “to our people. first responders who have been through a hell of a year and deserve all the support we can give them, “said Harris. Ailing tourism and hospitality industries will receive $ 578 million.
Illinois borrowed $ 5 billion from the federal government to pay unemployment benefits to people displaced by the pandemic. ARPA would provide $ 100 million to pay the interest on this loan, but the principal would wait.
But another huge pandemic relief debt is off the books. The state owed $ 1.2 billion – payable by December 2023 – on a $ 3.2 billion federal loan. Pritzker and the legislative leaders announced 10 days ago that they would pay off this loan sooner, saving $ 100 million in interest.
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