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dir="ltr">An administrative rule the Pritzker administration put in place to govern how federal COVID-19 relief for businesses is doled out stands and a local government group says that’s bad for the betterment of communities.
Phil Keshen, chief financial officer with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, told the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules doling out the funds requires diligence.
“In order to safeguard the state and actually have an agreement with the local governments so they can give those funds with full confidence that they’ll get reimbursed we’ll be posting it … and it’ll be outlined in a grant agreement the due diligence processes that are required,” Keshen said.
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That includes checking on business taxes to see if they’re delinquent among other things.
Illinois Municipal League Executive Director Brad Cole opposed the rule, saying the Pritzker administration chose bureaucracy over the betterment of local communities.
“So they’re setting up a system where they can do what the federal law allows but they’re not letting local governments do what the federal law allows,” Cole said.
The state got $4.9 billion in the first COVID-19 relief measure the U.S. Congress passed in March. Most of that went to Chicago and surrounding communities directly. A fraction of that meant for local economic support is going to be managed by the state.
Following the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules Tuesday, Cole was disappointed the state didn’t give more local control over the $150 million.
“And what they’re saying is that they’re going to disallow us to be able to use all that and we might be able to ask to get some of that back through grants,” Cole said of the aid to local businesses through the local government.
Cole laid out some uncertain next steps now that the rules are set.
“We’re going to try to get as many of [the grants] put out to use as possible,” Cole said. “Local governments have been spending money and they’re going to have costs that are incurred but the likelihood is they won’t be able to spend all of the money and so the state is going to recapture it and what they do with it we don’t know yet.”