Below is a collection of reactions to Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget address.
Constitutional Officers, Candidates
Comptroller Susana Mendoza:
“Today, the governor presented a cautious but morally responsible plan that recognizes the predicament Illinois finds itself in at this time, without seeking to balance the budget on the backs of working families. I’m pleased he’s prioritizing health care and human services, because they are vital to helping people survive the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The last thing we need right now is to shred our social safety net again to save money. And I’m happy he is keeping his focus on prioritizing repayment of our COVID-related debt. I am optimistic Illinois will get the federal help we so desperately need. As we all know, nearly every dollar coming into Illinois is already spoken for. I hope lawmakers will remember this as they begin budget discussions and work together to pass a responsible budget for the state.”
Senator Paul Schimpf, Republican Candidate for Governor released the following statement in response to Governor Pritzker’s budget address:
“It was a massive leadership failure that Governor Pritzker failed to acknowledge that Illinois had a net loss of nearly 80,000 people during the past year in his State of the State Speech today.
We are losing our population to surrounding states because they have lower tax rates including lower tax rates for corporations. It is misleading to suggest that small businesses are not corporations.
Governor Pritzker is proposing to increase corporate tax burdens that will only increase the exodus of Illinoisans to more business-friendly states. We cannot solve any of our long-term problems unless Illinois returns to being a state where people want to come to raise their families and grow their businesses.
Sadly, each day it becomes more evident that Pritzker would rather blame Illinois problems on everyone else including those who had no hand in creating our current problems. The people of Illinois deserve better than this plan and Governor Pritzker’s lack of candor and leadership.”
Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch:
“As expected, given the challenges of COVID-19 and the accompanying job loss and business disruption, this year’s budget requires hard decisions by the legislature and the governor. As the governor said, we must always be grounded by equity and empathy.
Today’s address was the first step in a process that involves all of us coming to the table and working line-by-line to build a budget that reflects our priorities: our COVID-19 response, improving operations for the Illinois Department of Employment Security, funding veterans homes, and providing resources for schools and job training efforts. To do this, we need to close corporate tax loopholes that have made it easy for them to avoid paying their fair share.
All said, one thing is clear: we need federal assistance. For the past year, state and local governments have been hit with a host of new expenses as a result of COVID-19, such as testing, mitigation efforts, and vaccine distribution. I’m glad we finally have an administration that takes this seriously and understands that this is not a red versus blue issue.”
State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, (D-Peoria):
“Illinois needs a balanced, fair budget that helps our communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and that invests in building stronger families, stronger neighborhoods and stronger schools. As the highest-ranking legislator from downstate Illinois, I will fight to make sure that we receive our fair share of funding for COVID-19 relief, community development, education and job training. Even as we face a tough budget outlook, we must continue to prioritize these critical investments. Crafting a fair and responsible budget will not be easy, but I am confident that by working together, the legislature and the governor can put families first in a fiscally responsible manner.”
State Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville)
“Governor Pritzker gave the most partisan State of the State address I have ever witnessed. He gave a bi-polar message of unity while attacking Republicans every chance he had. His budget last year was $6billion out of balance and with gimmicks, this year’s proposed budget is still at least $1.6 billion out of balance, not because of cuts, but because of better revenues coming to the State of Illinois.
“The Democrats passed a terrible budget last year that was in complete denial of the effect that Pritzker’s shutdown would have on our economy. Illinois has lost hundreds of thousands of jobs since the start of this pandemic and Illinoisans are voting with their feet. We lost over 80,000 people to other states last year alone.
“Given all of the jobs that have been lost and the Governor’s complete failure to deal with the massive unemployment issues at IDES, I strongly oppose Pritzker’s elimination of important job creation incentives. Two years ago, Republicans and Democrats worked together to pass the Blue Collar Jobs Act as part of the budget and infrastructure plan. Today Governor Pritzker is breaking his promise to Illinois working families.
“We all know the old saying, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!’ Well, Illinois isn’t just broke. It’s broken. Let’s try something new… living within our means. Stop spending money we don’t have and stop expanding programs we can’t afford.
“If the Governor wants a partner in solving the Democrats’ fiscal mess then he must be truthful and forthright with the General Assembly. Governor Pritzker stated last year that he had requested proposed cuts from each state agency. Where are these spending cuts? I’m willing to work together to make the tough decisions necessary to get Illinois back on track. But leadership starts at the top and the Governor needs to work with us, not dictate to us, in order to move Illinois forward.”
State Representative Amy Grant (R-Wheaton):
“Once again the Governor is ignoring the Constitutional requirement to balance the state budget against expected state revenues,” said Grant. “After record-high spending in his first two state budgets, even adding to state debt during the pandemic, his proposal is out of balance by $1.6 billion. That means adding to the state’s $4.7 billion unpaid bill backlog, $4.3 billion in short-term debt and $141 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. Even worse, he is adding nearly $1 billion in tax increases on small businesses and job creators that are struggling to stay afloat amid COVID-19 by going back on bipartisan agreements from 2019. Including a sales tax exemption on biofuels to promote clean energy jobs. Most troubling, however, he is once again going after scholarships for low-income students.
“After a year of business closures, job losses, IDES failure and the tragic deaths of our veterans, we heard nothing today about how his budget works for the people who have been so wrecked by state governments response to COVID-19. At the end of the day, it is Illinois families that will be hurt the most by his reckless approach to governing and his failure to honor his commitments.”
State Representative Chris Bos (R-Lake Zurich):
“I have repeatedly said that I firmly believe we can rise to face the challenges before our state by working together and recognizing there is more that unites than divides us,” said Bos. “While I do not often agree with Gov. Pritzker, he has repeatedly claimed to share a similar sentiment and desire to work together in a bipartisan fashion. Unfortunately, the budget he proposed today wasn’t simply partisan, he took direct aim at bipartisan agreements passed in 2019 to support job creators and small businesses who are still struggling to stay afloat as a result of COVID-19 shutdowns.
“The hypocrisy of his administration to use the Data Center Tax Incentive to pursue the expansion of a New York Stock Exchange data-hub in Illinois, while freezing the Blue Collar Jobs Act and proposing to reinstate a tax on struggling retail businesses doesn’t add up. Nearly $1 billion in tax increases on job creators is the last thing the state should be doing right now. It is also extremely troubling that he is once again going after scholarships that support low-income students.
“After a year of business closures, job losses and IDES failures, I had hoped to see the Governor offer a uniting message that would acknowledge tough decisions to reduce spending that allows government to operate more effectively and efficiently, while seeking to provide tax relief for those who are struggling. Instead, it is Illinois families that will be hurt the most by this reckless approach and his failure to honor his commitments.”
State Representative Andrew Chesney (R-Freeport):
“This was more political commercial than an honest budget address to the people of Illinois. While well-produced Hollywood-style productions may appeal to the egos of billionaires and elites like JB Pritzker, the speech rang hollow to families beleaguered by dysfunction in Illinois. Governor Pritzker made promises which have now been broken. This proposal is unbalanced at a time the state we love is hemorrhaging people and jobs. Job creators are looking for steady leadership and instead are finding a target painted on their back by the Governor,” said Chesney.
“If Democrats want meaningful, equal partners in bringing about a budget with flat or reduced spending, making the full pension payment and no new taxes or fees, they will find eager support from Illinois House Republicans. They will not, however, find willing accomplices in glossing over the concerns of working families and job creators who have been besieged by the Governor’s executive overreach and, frankly, incompetent performance over the past year,” Chesney warned.
State Representative Tom Weber (R-Lake Villa):
“Today the Governor took one small step forward by proposing his first budget without increased spending since he’s been in office,” said Weber. “Unfortunately, he then took several steps backward by proposing nearly $1 billion in tax increases on job creators and small businesses across the state that are struggling to survive COVID-19 shutdowns. He is going back on bipartisan agreements from 2019 that helped spur job creation, and helped prevent more job losses and state revenue losses during the pandemic that our recent better-than-expected economic numbers clearly showed.
“On top of that, even without increased spending, this budget would add $1.6 billion more to state debt and blatantly ignores the will of Illinoisans to further cut bloated state spending. At the end of the day, it is Illinois families that will be hurt the most by his reckless approach to governing and his failure to honor his commitments.”
State Representative Sonya Harper (D-Chicago), Chair of the ILBC:
“Trying to balance a budget in the middle of a pandemic is definitely going to present some challenges. The Black Caucus wants to ensure our most vulnerable do not bear the brunt of cuts to direct services and other needed resources, especially when so many disparities already exist for these communities. We look forward to working with our colleagues in the General Assembly and the governor to come up with a sound budget plan that shields our Black communities.”
State Representative Kam Buckner (D-Chicago), House Chair of the ILBC:
“This isn’t the first time Illinois has faced tough budget decisions and it won’t be the last, but I am committed to ensuring that we continue to invest in our future by protecting education funding and supporting job training and development. Especially as we work to recover and rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot turn our backs on programs that protect children, families and seniors.
“A budget that is balanced on the backs of our most vulnerable Illinoisans is not a budget that will work for our state, morally or fiscally. Even with the difficulty the state faces, I am confident that working with the administration, legislators can help deliver a balanced budget that is fair and responsible while prioritizing critical needs including pandemic relief, jobs and schools.”
State Representative Joe Sosnowski, (R-Rockford):
“Today, the Governor refused to accept any responsibility for the state’s fiscal challenges or his administration’s failure to fix the unemployment claims process, or his failure to prevent thousands of Illinois residents from being victimized by unemployment fraud, or his failure to protect the lives of veterans in the state’s care, or for destroying sectors of the economy through extreme shut-down measures that only targeted certain businesses like small family-owned restaurants and shops.
“Today the Governor blamed Republicans in the legislature for Illinois’ budget woes, even though Democrats hold a supermajority in both the State House and Senate and have had complete control of state government for 14 of the past 18 years. He also blamed congressional Republicans, despite the fact that Democrats enjoy a majority in Congress.
“JB Pritzker has been Governor for more than two years now. It’s time that he began taking responsibility and starts leading instead of pointing fingers. Illinois doesn’t have time for his rhetoric and failed policies. After record-high spending in his budgets the past two years, this year’s proposal is out of balance by $1.653 billion when based on current law, and not proposed tax increases and “free” federal money that the Governor assumes will happen. That will be a deficit on top of the $4.7 billion unpaid bill backlog, $4.3 billion in short-term debt and $141 billion in unfunded pension liabilities.
“Just like this budget proposal, Governor Pritzker’s go-it-alone approach has had disastrous results for the people of the State of Illinois. If he decides to change course and reach across the aisle to work together in honest collaboration with Republicans and Democrats, I’m ready to help pass a truly balanced budget that meets the needs of families here in the Stateline and across Illinois.”
Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park):
“This proposal is a good-faith effort by the governor to both recognize our state’s financial realities and honor our commitments and priorities.
“Coming out of this pandemic, we need to get people back to work. Our first priority with any tax incentive needs to be jobs for hardworking Illinoisans.
“So, I think it’s fair to ask what the hardworking taxpayers of Illinois are getting in return for these corporate tax breaks. It’s entirely appropriate to put some of these incentives under the microscope to see what works and get rid of what doesn’t.
“Senate Democrats, however, are always interested in finding resources for education. I suspect this year will be no different.”
Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie:
“Unfortunately, the governor continued the budget gimmicks of his predecessors and ignored his constitutional responsibility to present a budget within current revenues,” said McConchie. “By skipping out on the hard work of reform, he is continuing to punt on those fundamental changes so necessary to put Illinois on a stable financial path.
“Instead, the governor proposes to balance the budget by taking money away from roads and bridges, levying tax increases on employers during the pandemic, removing incentives designed to create blue collar jobs, and seeking to repeal recent efforts to revitalize the manufacturing industry in Illinois.
“This continues to show just how out of touch he is with how Illinois families live and operate. It is my sincere hope that the governor will rethink this proposal and work with the legislature to come up with a plan that will actually move our state forward.”
Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood):
“Overall, the governor’s proposal is a good starting point. It funds preschool. It funds the criminal justice reform law we just passed. It provides additional funding for programs to keep older adults and people with disabilities in their homes.
“However, I think we need to have a bigger conversation about K-12 education funding. If we follow this plan, it will be the second year in a row that we don’t fulfill our commitment to increase funding to Illinois public schools. I understand this is a difficult budget year because of the pandemic, but our kids and teachers in low-income communities cannot and should not have to wait forever to see the funding increases they were promised.”
State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights):
“While working people are often forced to choose between rent and food, some of the largest corporations are earning record profits. The governor’s proposal will put Illinois at the forefront of an equitable recovery by closing corporate loopholes and maintaining essential services. Making these changes would allow us to expand on our relief efforts and level the playing field for our small business community.
“This budget proposal also makes a commitment to our higher education students, as funding will remain steady, and needs-based programs like MAP grants will be expanded.”
Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake):
“The times we are faced with have made a state budget seem like a nearly impossible feat, yet the governor was able to prioritize our most vulnerable populations. Older Illinoisans and people with disabilities have often felt unheard throughout the pandemic. Today, however, they can know their voices are being elevated.
“Additionally, while I have been frustrated with the issues revolving around the Illinois Department of Employment Security, I feel a sense of hope knowing that additional investments may finally allow people to have their hardships handled.
“We are one step closer to a better and more normal tomorrow.”
State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago):
“I am pleased that the governor’s plan has not cut Medicaid and other health service areas, while even increasing spending on some human services. After the hard year we’ve endured, it is vital that our health care and human services are properly funded. January was the deadliest month in the entire pandemic, with disproportionate deaths in Black communities.
“One reason Black people are more susceptible to COVID-19 is because many of our communities lack access to quality, affordable care. Communities still need proper transportation and better care that the working class and underprivileged can afford.
“The quality of health care you receive should not be determined by your race, income or region. Quality, affordable health care should be recognized as a right for all. We need to continue to rethink and reshape the leadership of our state’s health care, leading with diversity, inclusion, and justice at the center.”
State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Frankfort):
“The proposal outlined by Governor Pritzker today is just the start of what will certainly be a challenging negotiation process. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented our people with generational economic challenges, and there is no question that this is going to be an incredibly difficult year for the state of Illinois. That is why our focus must be providing critical services to the people we represent, improving the unemployment system, assisting small businesses impacted by the pandemic, and putting people back to work through investment in infrastructure projects.
This is going to be a delicate budget making process, but the situation we find ourselves in calls for a reassessment of how we spend money in Illinois. I look forward to working to implement a budget that tightens the state’s belt, restricts reckless spending, and puts us back on track.”
State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago):
“It’s clear that the governor has made an earnest effort to hold the line for working people by closing corporate tax loopholes and increasing funding to programs that help ensure people can remain in their homes. This proposal gets us off on the right foot, but it’s just the beginning of the budget-making process in Illinois. That process must not lose sight of the needs of our families, our sick, our vulnerable, and our friends and neighbors who are stepping up to do everything they can to help during this pandemic.”
State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines):
“The past year posed unprecedented challenges to families and businesses in Illinois and across the nation. To bring our state and local economies back on track, it’s critical that we move forward with a concrete financial recovery plan, and that starts with a balanced budget.
“I’m relieved to hear the state budget will make our full required pension payment without overtaxing the working-class families still struggling to make ends meet as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
“But, the governor’s proposal isn’t perfect. On top of pandemic-related hardships, Illinois households are still facing longstanding issues, like hefty property tax burdens and skyrocketing tuition costs. I plan to continue negotiations with my colleagues in the General Assembly to get our state through the current crisis and find long-term solutions to the problems we’ve been facing for decades.”
Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin):
“This year has been unimaginably difficult for families in Illinois and across the country. As we have adjusted to the new reality, it is important that our state budget focuses on how to best support those who have been hit the hardest by the pandemic.
“While the budget proposal isn’t perfect and we continue to negotiate how to utilize the funds that we have, I look forward to working with my colleagues to provide stability for residents of our state.”
Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago):
“The COVID-19 pandemic requires all of us to shift our priorities. The governor’s proposed budget is not perfect, but considering the circumstances, it can’t be. However, it takes into account the realities of our state’s economic and fiscal situations, and it’s a good place to begin the grueling process of drafting our first full budget after the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
“However, I do wish the proposed budget would have made a greater commitment to funding programs that will work to bring safety and justice in our communities. There is a modest increase proposed, but this past year showed us that much more is needed.
“I know we have a lot of work in store for us over the next few months. This may be the most difficult and unique budget in Illinois history, and I know that when it is all said and done, it will be a budget that works for all Illinoisans and that it will go a long way toward making everyone in this state whole.”
State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago):
“Since the beginning of this pandemic, my office has helped over 750 people from in and out of our district with the unemployment benefits process. I am pleased that the Governor is seeking additional federal funding to the Department of Employment Security to address the backlog.
“Additionally, the governor pointed out where we can potentially save $932 million by closing corporate tax loopholes. At a time where large corporations are making record profits at the expense of everyone else, I am happy to see that Illinois is taking the lead in creating an equitable recovery.”
State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview):
“Given the challenges Illinois has faced over the last year, the governor’s proposal for a balanced, functional budget is both a relief and a promise that we are on the road to recovery.
“As a strong advocate for mental health care, I’m glad to see the proposed budget includes funding for suicide prevention and awareness programs, which are even more critical as individuals and families grapple with the losses and stresses resulting from the pandemic.
“However, I’m concerned that the governor’s proposed budget does not adequately consider the new needs of our schools, which have taken on a particularly heavy burden in the transition to remote and hybrid learning during the COVID-19 crisis. We have to protect our children’s academic futures, especially as we look toward a post-pandemic world.
“I look forward to continuing negotiations with my fellow lawmakers in the General Assembly to build a budget that supports all Illinoisans, including our teachers and students, through the challenges of the pandemic and beyond.”
State Senator Adriane Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove):
“Over the past year, people throughout the district and state as a whole have faced unprecedented financial challenges. Families are relying on assistance more than ever – and dire cuts to human services programs simply can’t happen. I am pleased our community can continue to get back on its feet as we work to avoid additional costs for families while ensuring current assistance programs stay afloat.
“Furthermore, additional human services funding will ensure our most vulnerable populations are taken care of during a time of increased need. The pandemic has truly shown us just how much we must be there for our neighbors.
“Together we can make Illinois a great place for us all — no matter the color of our skin or our ZIP code — to live.”
Assistant Majority Leader Tony Munoz (D-Chicago):
“With the continuous effects from the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m looking forward to bringing our state back to where it needs to be. This year’s budget continues Illinois’ path toward stability by making the best of a difficult situation. It avoids tax hikes that working families can’t afford and minimizes painful cuts to programs that people rely on.
“Gov. Pritzker addressed the broadband programs that are important to the communities I represent. I will continue to fight for funding for public safety efforts and veterans’ affairs. It’s important that this budget still includes funding to open the Chicago Veterans’ Home.”
State Senator Elgie Sims (D-Chicago):
“The governor has presented a budget plan that I believe has been put forward in good faith and that takes important steps to fund the vital criminal justice reforms we passed, including funding for additional law enforcement training and body cameras. Likewise, I am heartened by his proposal to increase funding to some social services, including those that help people stay in their homes. As I prepare to negotiate further, I’m determined that these areas remain our unshakable priorities.”
Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago):
“Our communities have struggled through this pandemic, and they need support. The governor’s proposed budget is a good baseline to begin negotiations. It keeps crucial human services whole, provides eviction mitigation services, and makes a full pension payment. I am eager to continue conversations with my colleagues and the governor’s office to deliver a budget that maintains these elements while also kick starting our business economy and providing support to industries that have been shut down as a result of COVID-19.
“In the midst of a global pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we work together to prioritize state funding and make critical progress for our state. I look forward to reconvening with my fellow legislators to pass a budget that helps our state move forward.”
Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign):
“This budget proposal acknowledges the hardships that families have faced and continue to face during this awful pandemic, while also looking ahead at the needs of the people within our communities,” Bennett said. “I’m pleased to see this budget proposal invests in agencies like the Illinois Department of Employment Security, which has been overwhelmed over the past 11 months.”
The Illinois Department of Employment Security has struggled with a flood of unemployment claims during the pandemic, but the proposed budget allocates more funding for the department to invest in call center workers, IT resources and fraud analysis technology.
The governor’s proposal also increases funding for the Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant program, which provides financial assistance to Illinois residents who attend approved Illinois colleges. This will help ensure current recipients will continue to qualify and more college students will have access to academic opportunities.
“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, this proposal prioritizes students’ needs and puts the state’s best foot forward,” Bennett said. “As the new chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, I support keeping our best and brightest in Illinois.”
Wednesday’s proposed budget is the beginning of the negotiation process, not the end. Bennett looks forward to bipartisan discussions this session to construct a balanced budget to provide stability and functionality for the state.
Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex):
“The ongoing pandemic continues to take a toll on families and small businesses across the state. The governor’s proposal recognizes the realities of Illinois’ fiscal situation and puts the focus on reducing the state’s expenses. While COVID-19 remains our biggest challenge, I am pleased to see the proposed budget support struggling families and family-owned businesses while ensuring the state is spending within its means.
“To improve our state and the lives of all Illinois families, we must work together. This proposed budget is the beginning of the negotiation process, and I look forward to coming together to craft a smart, bipartisan budget that puts our state back on track.”
Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria):
“I am pleased that the budget proposal is focused on providing stability and predictability to working families in these uncertain times.
“This year’s budget offers a notable increase in resources for older Illinoisans and individuals with disabilities, as well as additional funds for the Illinois Department of Employment Security to remedy delays in aid to those in need. Furthermore, this proposal calls for over $300 million more for human services and an expansion of MAP grants, providing increased support for those seeking higher education in my district and across Central Illinois. I am concerned, however, about the proposed reduction in funding for local governments. It does not make sense to take money away from our cities when they have experienced the same hardships as the state has. I feel that this will be a highly contested topic during negotiations.
“Families in the 46th District deserve a budget they can rely on, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to shape a budget that works for the people of my district.”
State Senator Steve McClure (R-Springfield):
“Our state’s finances are a mess, and the effects of the pandemic have made our fiscal situation much worse. Last year, the state budget was severely unbalanced. This proposal is about $1.7 billion out of balance. We need a legitimate balanced budget. Instead, the Governor has again proposed to try and balance the budget on the backs of businesses and their employees through tax increases that haven’t yet passed. The people of Illinois deserve better. I remain hopeful that the General Assembly will be able to work together to put forward a more responsible budget through a transparent process that helps our state grow, gets people back to work, and doesn’t cost us any jobs.”
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Don Tracy released the following statement in response to Governor Pritzker’s Budget Address:
“Spurned by the progressive tax defeat last November, Governor Pritzker is taking his anger out on the people of Illinois with his latest budget proposal. Despite a global pandemic that has forced families and businesses to cut costs to survive, Pritzker’s plan, riddled with accounting gimmicks, spends the same record amount as last year at the same time cutting funding for public schools, eliminating scholarships for poor children, and hiking taxes on small businesses. Other than front-line healthcare workers, no one has sacrificed more during the pandemic than small business owners and our school-age children. This budget hits them the hardest. It’s quite simple - Pritzker is a sore loser who has proposed a truly nasty budget.”
We Are One Illinois coalition of unions responds to governor’s budget address:
“Illinois faces a budget crater caused by the pandemic and the defeat of the Fair Tax amendment that would have required the very rich to pay their share.
“We support Governor Pritzker’s proposed steps to address the budget shortfall by closing tax loopholes that big corporations exploit at the expense of the people of our state, and by decoupling Illinois from unwise federal tax changes.
“But our communities need essential public services now more than ever. More must be done to invest in schools, health care, public safety, help for the unemployed, for children and seniors, people with disabilities and more.
“Part of the solution lies with Congress. Like every state, city and town, Illinois needs the significant federal assistance found in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
“Further action from Springfield may be needed, as well. As the budget process goes forward, we will work with legislators and the governor to identify revenue-raising measures that can prevent harmful cuts and strengthen our state.”
The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) released the following statement regarding Gov. JB Pritzker’s annual budget address:
“In the midst of a global pandemic that has caused widespread economic disruption, the Governor’s repeated attempts to hike taxes on small businesses and job creators is unacceptable, especially after voters overwhelmingly rejected his last plan to raise taxes. Illinois should be looking for ways to support businesses, create good-paying jobs, and jump-start investment in our communities. Instead, this administration wants to not only hike taxes but also cut job training funds intended to build a skilled workforce. Meanwhile, other states have embraced policies to grow the economy by cutting taxes, reducing regulations and adopting liability protections,” said Mark Denzler, president & CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “Throughout the pandemic, manufacturers answered our nation’s call by making and donating personal protective equipment, creating life-saving vaccines and therapies, and stocking our grocery stores with safe and nutritious food. The industry stands ready to lead our economic recovery, but it’s imperative the governor and lawmakers work with manufacturers, not against us.”
The Illinois Municipal League (IML) issued the following statement regarding Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget address for State Fiscal Year 2022:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has posed significant challenges to municipalities across Illinois, from revenue shortfalls to additional health and safety costs. While we recognize the need to address the state’s fiscal challenges, additional cuts to the Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF), which designates a portion of state income tax revenue to cities and counties, will exacerbate the current challenges communities face. Every dollar cut from LGDF is a dollar added to property taxes or a dollar taken away from much-needed local programs and services.
“Additionally, further cuts to LGDF could result in higher unfunded pension liability costs, all at a time when all aspects of society continue to endure the ongoing pandemic and revenue sources are limited. We urge the Governor and the General Assembly to reverse the cuts made to LGDF over the past several years and support initiatives that promote the wellbeing of our shared constituencies, the residents of Illinois,” said Brad Cole, IML Executive Director.
Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery released this response:
“Despite the pandemic, Governor Pritzker has made huge strides in moving our state forward. We’re pleased to see that his proposed budget does not rely on increasing taxes or layoffs that would only hurt working families. We support his decision to close corporate tax loopholes to fund vital services and protect our hardest hit.
“When it comes to funding education, the Governor has done the best he can with the dire fiscal hand he has been dealt by COVID and the millionaire-led effort to prevent fair taxation in our state. When Illinois adopted the Evidence-Based Funding (EBF) plan, we all hoped education dollars would flow to our neediest communities and the state’s share of education funding would steadily increase. Yet Illinois remains near the bottom of the country in equitable education funding, and for the second year in a row, it will not be increased. And higher education is still suffering from decades-long disinvestment.
“We remain hopeful that Governor Pritzker will increase funding for schools in FY22 if revenue projections continue to improve and that he will fully fund EBF and higher education in future years. The IFT will continue to advocate for additional sources of state revenue and increased funding for schools, colleges, and universities.
“Recovering from the pandemic is vital to Illinois’ economic well-being, and it will take our collective power to make that happen. The IFT stands ready to work with Governor Pritzker to ensure that the recovery is focused on our most vulnerable.”
SEIU Healthcare Illinois President Greg Kelley released this response:
“As a union of over 90,000 essential healthcare workers who have been serving on the frontlines for the entirety of this pandemic, we are grateful for the steps the Governor’s proposed budget would take towards fairer and more equitable revenue sources but also aware that these measures will be insufficient to fund the recovery that the working people of Illinois so desperately need.
“Our members applaud Governor Pritzker’s leadership in his support of closing corporate tax loopholes and decoupling Illinois from ill-advised Federal tax provisions. These are crucial steps in the right direction. But the devastation of this pandemic, and its disproportionate impact on Black, brown and low-income workers and their communities, call upon us to do more. Our members have faced daily risks on the job of getting sick, spreading the virus to those they care for, and also of increased economic insecurity. While rightly being celebrated by many as heroes, they have paid a high price for the essential roles they have played. And they continue to pay that price.
“We must avoid cuts to vital programs and services, as these are more desperately needed now than ever before. But more is still needed—it is time for us to make bold investments in the resources and support structures that will enable a full recovery for all of Illinois—a recovery that includes the essential workers who continue to put their lives on the line every day to provide crucial services to our state’s most vulnerable.”
Transportation for Illinois Coalition:
TFIC is an umbrella organization of business, labor and transportation groups was formed more than 20 years ago to effectively advocate for infrastructure funding, and it has played a critical role in educating policymakers and advocating for capital construction programs and other funding for the state’s vital transportation system:
“We are disappointed by the Governor’s state budget proposal today.
This coming budget year is when Illinois was to begin committing all revenues motorists pay at the pump to transportation infrastructure. The Governor instead is calling for a delay in shifting the state’s share of sales tax revenue on gasoline purchases from the state’s General Fund to the Road Fund, which will mean an estimated loss of $120 million this coming year in funds to support the state’s capital program.
Our coalition fought hard for years leading up to the passage of the 2019 capital bill to ensure we did not repeat the mistakes of the past. We successfully pushed for an increase in the state’s motor fuel tax, including tying it to inflation, and shifting the sales tax funds motorists pay at the pump to support investment in our roads and bridges starting in the upcoming budget year, Fiscal Year 2022.
This budget proposal also calls for shifting $100 million for transit services that now is paid for by the state’s General Fund to the Road Fund, and for the state to keep 10 percent of sales tax revenues that otherwise would be distributed to local transportation districts through two state funds that support transit funding. These proposals will add an additional burden while the transit systems face incredible challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
We can never again allow our transportation infrastructure to decay for years without proper funding. We already are seeing a 15-20 percent drop in monthly state motor fuel tax revenues during the pandemic, along with significant declines in vehicle registration payments to support the capital program. Every dollar we lose in anticipated funding over these next few years delays the timely maintenance of our transportation system, resulting in a slower economic recovery and costly deterioration of our transportation infrastructure.
We urge the Governor and lawmakers to recognize the importance of the state’s capital program in creating jobs and keeping our economy moving, and to take every step possible this spring to support the investment we must make in our roads and bridges.”
Patrick Hosty, Executive Director of the Chicago Laborers District Council-LMCC
Kevin Burke, Executive Vice President of the Illinois Asphalt Pavement Association
Illinois Chamber President and CEO Todd Maisch released the following statement on Governor Pritzker’s Budget Address:
“The Illinois Chamber is opposed to the massive tax increase proposed by the Governor’s budget plan under the guise of “closing corporate loopholes.” We understand that the state has fiscal problems to address, however, the Governor’s plan will have a long-term negative impact on job creation and tax revenues for the state as it produces an unfair increase on taxpayers after they resoundingly defeated the graduated income tax. This not only will expand what will get taxed, but will also reduce key tax credits for vital sectors of the economy.”
“We know the administration faces a tough fiscal task. However, these tax increase proposals will only paper over our short-term problems but accelerate Illinois’ long-term economic crisis. In particular of the many problems in the Governor’s proposals, a particular concern is the elimination of the single sales factor in assessing Illinois income tax. This misguided proposal has the impact of increasing taxes on Illinois based businesses at a time we can least afford it.”
The Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) released the following statement regarding Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s budget proposal:
“Retailers have served a vital role throughout the pandemic, ensuring safe and reliable access to food and supplies to now helping vaccinate the state and nation. Despite immense challenges, including government closures, capacity restrictions, denial of access to PPE, and civil unrest that forced some businesses to rebuild not once but twice, retailers were repeatedly called upon to lead the way. This includes establishing health and safety protocols the government soon followed. While the governor claims he is focused on rebuilding the state’s economy, it is counterintuitive that his first step is to raise costs on businesses by eliminating the retail discount, which only partially reimburses store owners for administering and collecting sales tax on behalf of the state,” said Rob Karr, president & CEO, Illinois Retail Merchants Association.
“Claiming this change would only impact ‘big’ retailers ignores the fact that it is a partial reimbursement for costs incurred on behalf of the state and attempts to deceive smaller retailers into believing they won’t be touched. Action in other states proves the government will continue to redefine ‘big.” Shifting more of the cost of administration and collection onto retailers does nothing to support struggling businesses and indicates the governor fails to fully appreciate all that retail contributes to our state, which prior to the pandemic employed one-fifth of all workers in Illinois and served as the second largest revenue generator for state government and the largest revenue generator for local governments. As I’ve long said, as goes retail, so goes Illinois.”
The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce issued the following statement regarding Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Budget Address:
“The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce is keenly aware of the many fiscal challenges facing Illinois, ranging from the state’s ever-growing unfunded pension liabilities to a budget that has only worsened due to the pandemic. As the voice for Chicago’s business community, we know first-hand how these challenges have created additional hardships for employers as they struggle to remain open, pay rising property tax bills and employ workers. We will fight for policies and a budget that helps small businesses, creates jobs and provides a pro-growth environment that our state needs for economic recovery.
We will continue to advocate for additional Federal aid to come to Illinois which will help with these immediate budget challenges. In the event it does, we urge Governor Pritzker and the General Assembly to prioritize small businesses and workforce development programs that provide the education, training and resources our businesses need to get people back to work and prepare our workforce for the post-COVID world.
The Chamber stands ready to work with Governor Pritzker and other elected officials to address these challenges, particularly the unfunded pension liabilities, and put in place policies that will ensure the long-term wellbeing of the business community. These policies will welcome new employers to our state and create job opportunities for our residents,” said Jack Lavin, President & CEO, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.
Shana Crews, director of government relations in Illinois for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), made the following statement in reaction:
“As an organization dedicated to reducing suffering and death from cancer, ACS CAN is pleased to see the governor taking steps to address public health initiatives in his budget. In his proposed budget, Gov. Pritzker maintained funding for tobacco prevention and tobacco cessation, and the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, both administered by the Department of Public Health.
“Tobacco prevention and cessation funding ensure evidence-based strategies are implemented to reduce tobacco use, the number one cause of preventable death nationwide and the cause of nearly 30% of Illinois cancer diagnoses. Maintaining funding is a vital first step in protecting Illinois youth from tobacco and helping those already using tobacco quit. This is important because we have seen the progress made stall and we are facing skyrocketing youth tobacco use.
“The Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program helps fill the health care coverage gap by providing low-income, uninsured and underinsured women access to mammograms and cervical cancer screenings. The impacts of COVID-19 make this program even more critical. By increasing access to care, the state can reduce the number of Illinoians who will hear “you have cancer”.
“We look forward to working with the administration and the legislature to ensure that the final budget includes adequate funding for life-saving cancer screening and prevention programs.”
The Illinois Fuel and Retail Association, representing Illinois gas stations and convenience stores, today issued the following statement in response to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2022 as outlined in his speech today:
“At a time when so many small businesses and families they support are teetering and on the brink of disaster, this new Illinois budget proposal would push many over the edge.
“Proposing to close millions of dollars in ‘tax loopholes’ and ending other incentives for businesses that were negotiated just a couple of years ago will undermine any progress we might be able to make in climbing out of the pandemic hole in 2021 if they become law. Make no mistake, these will be tax increases on businesses – and Illinoisans will suffer because of them.
“Particularly concerning for my members is more quickly ending an exemption for the sale of biodiesel at the gas pump, valued at $107 million. This change would add approximately 20 cents to a gallon of diesel fuel and is especially egregious considering that Illinois is one of only six states that already imposes a sales tax on motor fuels. Ending this incentive would also be incredibly damaging to our vital agriculture community in Illinois and hurt my small business members at a time when it’s so easy for customers to drive across state lines to fill up their vehicles.
“Congress created the CARES Act to provide a lifeline of support for businesses across the country after the devastating effects of the pandemic. The Legislature soundly rejected the idea of decoupling from federal tax aid for small businesses during the lame duck session a few weeks ago, but the issue is not dead yet. Now, as businesses are filing their tax returns this spring, this bad idea is even worse and we urge our policymakers to reject it.
“We call on the Governor and legislators to work on a better state budget framework this spring that recognizes the pain caused by the pandemic, and doesn’t add further to the misery many small businesses and families are facing. It’s time to do better.”
Illinois Primary Health Care Association:
“IPHCA commends Governor Pritzker for prioritizing racial justice and eliminating disparities, and his commitment to protecting our state’s health care and human services systems. However, we urge the Governor and the General Assembly to make a greater investment in strengthening the communities that have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic and long suffered from a lack of resources and investment.
We agree that the safety net must be protected. As part of the Governor’s commitment to advancing equity, it is imperative not only to shield health care and human services from cuts, but to strengthen funding for this vital system of support that equips individuals, families, and communities to live healthy lives and thrive. Community health centers services are inextricably linked to social services that address all of a patient’s needs, including their social determinants of health.
Health and human service programs are the backbones of robust communities and they are currently in high demand as a result of the devastating COVID-19 public health emergency that has left millions of Illinoisans facing grief, loss, illness, unemployment, isolation, and housing and food insecurity. Moreover, the pandemic has been particularly distressing for communities of color, immigrant communities, and low income communities – exacerbating the challenges they already face as a result of historic underinvestment and marginalization.
As a new legislative session gets underway and the state budget continues to take shape, we look forward to partnering with Governor Pritzker’s Administration and the General Assembly to ensure equity is not just a goal but a reality. By doing our part to grow access to primary health care in underserved communities, we can strengthen health outcomes for all Illinoisans.
Americans for Prosperity- Illinois(AFP-IL) State Director Jason Heffley issued the following statement:
“Governor Pritzker has learned nothing from his failed attempt to raise taxes in November—the people of Illinois think taxes are too high and proposing a billion dollar tax increase on small businesses in the middle of a challenging fiscal climate shows an utter lack of respect for taxpayers. Leaders need to lead, not simply propose different versions of tax increases or stick their hands out for federal bailouts when budgeting gets tough.”
Catholic Conference of Illinois
“The proposal by Gov. J.B. Pritzker to slash the Invest in Kids Tax Credit Scholarship program reduces the most effective state program for low-income and working-class students in Illinois. Even during the pandemic, scholarship recipients have been attending high-quality, nonpublic schools. Students at Catholic schools have been learning in-person since August and have surpassed nationally-certified benchmarks. This is the time to expand the program so that more low-income and working-class students can attain educational achievement that will lead to a successful future.
We urge the governor to reconsider and work towards expanding educational opportunities instead of restricting them.”
Climate Jobs Illinois
Climate Jobs Illinois today applauded Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s call for a clean energy bill that preserves Illinois’ nuclear fleet and expands the state’s wind and solar industries. But the labor coalition stressed that any energy legislation must include strong labor standards to create true economic opportunities for Illinois families.
“Gov. Pritzker is right to prioritize clean energy legislation this year that preserves the state’s nuclear fleet as part of a comprehensive plan to transition Illinois toward a clean energy economy,” said CJI Executive Director Joe Duffy. “However, any clean energy legislation must put Illinois’ working families first and include comprehensive labor standards so these new clean energy jobs provide a path to the middle class, especially for communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.”
Illinois Association for Behavioral Health CEO Jud DeLoss:
“During the 2018 gubernatorial election, Governor Pritzker campaigned on his support for mental health and addiction treatment, and he has kept his promise. The governor’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget provides a 22% increase in addiction treatment and a 3% bump for mental health services, and this money will be crucial to fight the opioid overdoses breaking records in counties such as Cook, DuPage, Lake and elsewhere in the state in 2020 and to address the surging mental health needs triggered during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is good news in a bad news budget year.”
Illinois faces serious budgetary challenges, which have been exacerbated by the dramatic impact of COVID-19. It will not be easy to address the many and varied issues that pre-existed the pandemic and have been compounded by it.
Governing is hard, and we do not envy the governor or members of the General Assembly who have difficult decisions to make. While we understand the competing pressures on the state’s limited resources and applaud additional funding for MAP grants, it is nonetheless disappointing that the proposed budget contains cuts for some early childhood programs, and, for the second year in a row, calls for mostly flat funding across the education continuum, including no new funds for the Evidence-Based Formula (EBF).
There is nothing easy about the coming year’s budget, and we believe Governor Pritzker is committed to increasing education funding for early childhood education and care, K-12 and higher education. And this we know: education is the single most important investment we can make in our children and our future. It’s why we passed the Evidenced-Based Funding formula five years ago, and it’s why we committed as a state to put at least $350 million new dollars into that formula every year for ten years.
No one could have foreseen COVID-19 and the growing impacts of the pandemic, and it has unquestionably made it harder to keep this commitment. It also has made the road ahead harder for all children and deepened already unacceptable racial, economic, and regional disparities.
Federal funds meant to facilitate school reopening and early recovery will help. But make no mistake, relief dollars are needed to address immediate and ongoing COVID-19-related issues such as health and safety measures, closing the digital divide to permit all children access to virtual learning, and short-term efforts to provide additional academic, social and emotional supports. These one-time federal funds are not meant to support the deeper ongoing staffing and programmatic investments that are needed to drive student success into the future. The same holds true for early childhood education and care, universities and community colleges.
We are heartened to hear that legislators plan to prioritize education funding. Our children’s futures require dependable and growing investments, and they are counting on us to keep our promises now more than ever. As circumstances continue to evolve, we urge the General Assembly to exhaust every means possible to uphold the state’s commitment to not only maintain education funding, but to continue to grow it for children birth through career.
Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities, Inc. (TASC) CEO Pamela Rodriguez:
“Despite the gaping, $3 billion, pandemic-driven Illinois budget hole, Governor JB Pritzker was able to preserve core addiction treatment and case management services in his Fiscal Year 2022 budget needed for individuals in the criminal justice system who are working to rebuild their lives on exiting prison or who are being diverted from incarceration by participating in treatment as an option. The governor deserves credit for keeping core services intact.”
Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.