Illinois Assembly to hear Gov. Pritzker’s budget address

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — State lawmakers are expected to hear Governor J.B. Pritzker’s third budget address at noon Wednesday, as a $3 billion shortfall looms in the next fiscal year.

It’s also the first budget address since his graduated income tax proposal was rejected by Illinois voters in November.

Pritzker previously warned the state would need to raise taxes or face “painful cuts” if voters didn’t approve his suggested tax policies — but on Feb. 9, he pledged to balance the state’s budget without a tax increase.

The governor is also not elaborating at all on the specifics of any meaningful cuts. 

His address arrives after the COVID-19 pandemic has blown a multi-billion-dollar hole in state tax revenues. 

The budget anticipates a lot of extra federal funding for education, and an estimated $7 billion extra in President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 relief package, although, those dollars cannot be included in this state budget.

Administration officials have said the governor plans to prioritize those federal dollars toward paying down debts accrued during the pandemic. 

The budget steers $100 million from cigarette taxes into the general revenue fund. It also extends the deadline for the state to pay back borrowed funds, shifting more of the burden onto the next fiscal year. 

The biggest “cut” in Pritzker’s budget will come in the form of expiring $932 million in tax breaks for businesses.  

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