On Feb. 15, Gov. JB Pritzker proposed his fifth budget to the Illinois General Assembly during his annual Budget and State of the State Address. While he painted an idealistic image of Illinois’ fiscal outlook, he also failed to address the looming realities the Illinois economy is likely to see.
The plan laid out by the Governor increases permanent state spending by $3 billion, despite expert warnings of decreased revenue likely to be brought on by a recession. In the last few years, Illinois has benefited from a massive influx of federal dollars and increased revenues due to COVID-19 relief programs and inflation. But State Senator Sally Turner says those days are about to end, and the Governor is failing to account for these realities.
Despite these very real threats, the Governor’s outlined budget plan further expands state government—an increase of more than $10 billion since he took office. While the Governor’s professed goals of funding priorities like early childhood programs and public safety initiatives are critical to a functioning state, Sen. Turner reiterates the importance of focusing on creating a sustainable budget that will not spend Illinois residents into a major tax increase. She says a larger conversation is needed about structural reforms that will allow the state to protect our future investments and prioritize spending within its means.