Local Republicans criticize Gov. Pritzker’s budget proposal, saying it focuses too much on migrant response

GOP representatives also say Illinoisans will have to pay more in taxes

State Sen. Sue Rezin speaks on her nuclear legislation.

State Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, said Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget puts too much priority on migrants over the needs of Illinois families.

As Illinois faces an influx of migrants from the southern U.S. border Pritzker’s budget proposes another $182 million toward the state’s migrant response, according to Capitol News Illinois.

“We didn’t ask for this manufactured crisis,” Pritzker said in his address. “But we must deal with it all the same.”

Citing what will be about $3 billion the past three years spent in the state’s migrant response, Rezin said the bill will be footed by middle-class families and more priority should go to Illinois citizens.

“Meanwhile, Illinoisans continue to struggle to afford essentials like prescriptions and electricity,” Rezin said. “As the budget process progresses this spring, I truly hope that my fellow lawmakers focus on the needs and priorities of hardworking Illinois families instead of further perpetuating the Governor’s noncitizen welfare state agenda.”

Pritzker blasted Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who has so far sent about 35,000 migrants to Chicago since his administration began bussing asylum-seekers in 2022. He also blasted former President Donald Trump while again criticizing President Joe Biden for not providing a more coordinated migrant response.

Some elements of the governor’s proposed spending plan include using $10 million in state funds to eliminate $1 billion worth of Illinoisans’ medical debt and a goal to achieve “universal preschool” by 2027, according to Capitol News Illinois.

State Sen. Tom Bennett, R-Gibson City, whose district includes La Salle, Bureau, Livingston and Putnam counties, echoed Rezin’s concerns about the governor’s budget.

“Once again, the governor proposed a state budget that does not match the priorities of the people of Illinois,” Bennett said. “He continues to prove that his priorities are misplaced. He is planning to increase taxes by more than a billion dollars to pay for the migrant crisis he created.”

“This means people may end up paying more money for the same things, get paid less money for the same work, or both,” Bennett added. “Illinois taxpayers deserve an open and transparent process that prioritizes spending where it is needed most and shows discipline with their money.”

State Rep. Brad Fritts, R-Dixon, who district includes La Salle County, also criticized the governor’s decision to spend in response to migrants sent to Illinois.

“Healthcare in rural Illinois is drowning right now,” Fritts said. “Hospitals are closing and specialty providers are packing up and leaving town. But instead of adequately funding Medicaid reimbursement rates to ensure hospitals across the state are able to keep their doors open, Gov. Pritzker is paying an estimated $2.8 billion of taxpayer dollars for undocumented immigrants.

State Sen. Win Stoller, R-Germantown Hills, whose district includes Bureau County, said Pritzker wants to raise taxes on Illinoisans to pay for the migrant response.

“While Illinois families continue to struggle, the governor proposes the largest budget in state history and expects them to foot the bill,” Stoller said. “The citizens of our state shouldn’t be the governor’s piggy bank to pay for his radical noncitizen welfare agenda.”

State Rep. Ryan Spain, R-Peoria, whose district includes Bureau County, said the governor’s budget proposal includes $2.29 billion in additional spending, a 4.5% increase, which would leave Illinois with a $775 million deficit.

“How does he propose to solve his deficit problem? By raising another billion dollars in taxes on job creators and cutting tax deductions for working-class families,” Spain said. “We’ve already spent $2.8 billion on healthcare for non-citizens, and he wants to spend another $811 million instead of admitting his sanctuary state policy has hurt our state and is taking money away from vulnerable Illinoisans who should be our first priority.”

State Rep. Jed Davis, R-Newark, whose district includes La Salle County, warned Pritzker is proposing the largest budget in the state’s history.

“Let’s also not forget Gov. Pritzker is proposing nearly $1.1 billion in new taxes and transfers, all leading to the largest budget in the state’s history,” Davis said. “This trend is simply unsustainable and everyday Illinois citizens will continually suffer from the resulting tax burden. When is enough enough?”

State Rep. Jason Bunting, R-Pontiac, whose district includes La Salle and Livingston counties, called for accountability in state spending, no new taxes and tacking the pension debt.

“The governor had very little to say about any of these in his speech,” Bunting said. “It was also disappointing that there was no mention of our bipartisan estate tax reform legislation or extending the successful Invest in Kids scholarship program.”

Pritzker defended his budget.

“Our [fiscal 2025] budget proposal makes some hard choices,” Pritzker said Wednesday. “I wish we had big surpluses to work with this year to take on every one of the very real challenges we face.”

The governor stressed the state treated federal COVID-era stimulus money as “one-time revenue” instead of windfalls that were built into year-over-year spending. As a result “we are not facing the budgetary challenges that other big states are this year,” he said, according to Capitol News Illinois.

Capitol News Illinois reported Pritzker is proposing to more than double the tax rate paid by sportsbooks on profits – a change that would bring in an estimated $200 million annually. He also proposed extending an existing cap on operating losses that businesses can claim on taxes, which could help generate more than $500 million, the governor’s office claims.

Another revenue generator proposed by the governor: raising $101 million by capping a sales tax credit retailers are allowed to claim.

— Hannah Meisel, Capitol News Illinois contributed to this report.

Have a Question about this article?