Pritzker announces $700 million in state spending reductions

Pritzker announces $700 million in state spending reductions

ILLINOIS (IRN) — After Illinois voters rejected his progressive income tax amendment, Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said he plans to focus on cuts to balance the state’s budget.

On Tuesday, Pritzker has announced plans to reduce state spending by $700 million dollars for fiscal year 2021. The plan includes a hiring freeze, grant reductions and operational savings.

The governor says the state is negotiating with AFSCME and other employee unions to identify $75 million dollars in cost savings, which could include furlough days. The Department of Corrections will also identify additional savings due to a lower prison population, which could include closing prisons.

“While short term federal help may yet come, we need to take action to maintain fiscal stability over the long run and address the problems that plagued Illinois pre-pandemic,” Pritzker said.

AFSCME Executive Director Roberta Lynch said state employees have already made sacrifices.

“Undoubtedly, our state faces a severe fiscal crisis and action is urgently needed,” Lynch said in a statement. “However, it is grossly unjust to suggest that frontline state employees who have already sacrificed so much in our current public health crisis should bear an outsized share of the burden of fixing the state’s fiscal crisis as well.”

Lynch said that thousands of state employees have contracted COVID-19, hundreds have been hospitalized and some have died.

Pritzker said a loss of state tax revenue will cause a $4 billion shortfall over the next two years. The state is expected to get $2 billion in borrowing from a federal program this week. That is after the state is expected to pay back $1 billion of a $1.2 billion bridge loan from last year.

“It pains me to pursue these actions because these state employees are public servants who dedicate themselves to improving the lives of the people we all serve,” Pritzker said.

Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said the budget lawmakers passed in the spring was balanced on wishful thinking over concerns raised by Republicans.

“Governor Pritzker, President Harmon and [House Speaker] Mike Madigan were repeatedly warned about the dire shortfalls in the fantasy budget that relied upon the passage of the graduated tax and a ‘fingers crossed’ hope for a federal bailout,” Durkin said in a statement. “Instead of living within our means, they attempted to trick voters into raising taxes, and were sorely rejected by Democrat, Republican and Independent voters across the state. We hope the Governor uses his authority to call the General Assembly into session so that we can look to move Illinois forward by fixing the problems the Democrats have created.”

Concert Calendar

POSTPONED – Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets at Stifel Theatre

POSTPONED – Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets at Stifel Theatre

ON SALE • NOWPRICE • $59, $69, $89, $109 Click HERE to purchase tickets Jan 2 – It is with great regret that due to the uncertainty surrounding the Covid pandemic, it has been decided to postpone the North American tour until later in the year. Apologies for any inconvenience or disappointment due to this. We are…

Local Weather