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State lawmakers split over Illinois budget

Governor J.B. Pritzker proposed a nearly $41 million budget today in Springfield and discussed the financial future of Illinois.
Governor J.B. Pritzker proposed a nearly $41 million budget today in Springfield and discussed the financial future of Illinois.(WIFR)
Published: May. 25, 2020 at 8:36 PM CDT
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The Illinois State General Assembly passed a $40 billion budget Sunday on an almost entirely party-line vote. The unbalanced budget has a $5 billion hole that lawmakers now hope the federal government will pay.

"When our workers and our businesses are struggling to get back on track we have to ensure that our governments are there to back them up," says Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker.

However there is no guarantee the federal government will allocate funds to Illinois. That's one of the reasons several lawmakers, mostly Republican, opposed the spending plan.

"Where does government come across thinking they can continue to spend money that they don't have," questions Senator Dave Syverson. "Everyone else is making tough decisions right now; Taxpayers, families, small businesses. Yet in Illinois the spending they put in this budget is a billion dollars over last year."

The budget does include breaks for small businesses and tax filing delays. Spending increases include pensions, 12 percent more for healthcare and family services, an additional $85 million for the Illinois Department of Transportation, $6.4 million more for the Illinois State Police, $1.1 million total for state universities, $34 million for the Illinois Gaming Board, and 11 percent more for the State Fire Marshall.

Gov. Pritzker says the COVID-19 shutdowns are straining the state's economy, but he does not want the recovery to fall on working class citizens.

"Even in the most challenging of circumstances, this administration will never balance a budget on the backs of our working families and our most vulnerable."

If approved by Pritzker, the budget will start July 1. Pritzker also says he understands if the federal government does not pay the budget will need to be revised.

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