Pritzker faces questions from Democrats, Republicans ahead of budget address

Pritzker faces questions from Democrats, Republicans ahead of budget address

SPRINGFIELD, IL — With Gov. J.B. Pritzker preparing to deliver his budget address Wednesday, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are sounding off on the few details that have been released.

Some at the Illinois statehouse and some in the U.S. Congress are wondering how federal dollars could impact the plan. Topline budget details the Pritzker administration released indicate the proposed budget will keep spending level, including level education spending. The administration anticipates “significant federal funding for education will provide additional support for schools while the state maintains its existing investment, and the governor is committed to ensuring that education is fully funded in future years.” State Rep. Will Davis, D-Homewood, said the school funding formula with expected yearly increases is important.

Holding that back is going in the wrong direction, regardless of additional federal dollars, he said. “I’d hate for us to walk backward,” Davis said. “So I think it’s really going to be incumbent on what happens in these chambers that education is the priority that we think it is. Let’s put the money there and dare the governor to take it out.” Another element the governor revealed was a proposal to end $900 million of what his administration called “corporate tax loopholes.” State Rep. Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore, said ending business incentives is the wrong approach. “We need to grow the economy,” Keicher said. “We have been in this horrible position long before my arrival in the General Assembly and it is our job to put a shot in the arm of the Illinois economy and get us moving forward.”

Republicans decried announcements by the governor to limit various business tax incentives. One thing the state could get, if President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 aid package passes, is $7.5 billion. Local governments would get $5.7 billion to share. State Rep. Marty Moylan, D-Des Plaines, said any federal funds shouldn’t diminish the distribution of state income tax dollars to local governments. “We want to make sure that there’s no adverse effect to the [Local Government Distributive Funds] for all our cities,” Moylan said.

U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Peoria, told WMAY he’ll advocate for cities that can show revenue losses because of the pandemic to get their fair share of any federal dollars. “But what I don’t want is the federal government coming in and bailing out blue states that have had systemic economic problems,” LaHood said. “This can’t be a blank check that J.B. Pritzker has to then help bail out or pension system. That’s not good for taxpayers.”

The state’s current spending plan is more than $3 billion out of balance. The state’s unfunded pension liability is more than $140 billion.

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Bachman-Cummings with special guest Mark Farner’s American Band @ The Family Arena

Bachman-Cummings with special guest Mark Farner’s American Band @ The Family Arena

RESCHEDULED – Thursday, June 10, 2021 @ The Family Arena ON SALE •  PRICES • $103 (Rows 1-7), $93 (Floor), $78 (Lower Level Sidelines), $63 (Lower Level Endzone), $53 (Upper Level) Tickets can be purchased at the Family Arena Ticket Office or online at Ticketmaster.com. Legendary Canadian musicians and songwriters Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings announced today a US leg…

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