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dir="ltr">Thanks to better-than-expected revenue and some strategic budgetary maneuvers, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says the state will finish the current fiscal year with more money than projected.
In his budget address last week, Pritzker described previous revenue estimations as “conservative,” explaining that income and sales taxes had provided the state with billions of dollars more than had been foreseen.
“The general funds budget I present today for Fiscal Year 2022 spends $1.8 billion less than FY2021,” Pritzker said. “It reflects $400 million in additional cuts to appropriations, a hiring freeze, flat operational spending, full required pension payments, and the closure of unaffordable corporate loopholes. All in all, it reduces spending to meet projected revenues.”
With that announcement, Illinois joins all but a handful of states to find themselves with more money than they had budgeted for, despite the state’s allotment of record spending in the budget adopted last year.
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“We’re basically just sending money to states that don’t need it,” said Ted Dabrowski, president of Wirepoints. “States like Illinois, New Jersey, and Connecticut have massive pension problems, massive debt and mismanagement. They have deficits that started way before the pandemic ever showed up.”
The nonprofit analyzed the latest state revenue estimates and found that all but a dozen states are in a situation where they’ve got more money than they expected.
Congress is prepared to vote this week on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, which includes $350 billion in aid for states and local government.
If it’s enacted as is, Illinois stands to receive $7.5 billion and local officials would get a portion of $5.7 billion. If Pritzker’s budget proposal is enacted, Illinois would see an estimated $7.62 billion budget surplus in the coming fiscal year.
The coming debate over the already-controversial plan could see added pressure from those who would oppose sending so much money to states that are debating about what to do with their billions in current surplus dollars.
“It’s unfair to ask taxpayers to further bailout states like Illinois, that have recklessly budgeted for years, under the guise of coronavirus relief,” said Jason Heffley, Illinois state director for Americans for Prosperity.
Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have signaled they’re going to pass Biden’s plan along party lines this week.