Coronavirus Has Blown $2.7 Billion Hole In Illinois State Budget: Pritzker

WBBM Newsradio Staff
April 15, 2020 - 2:52 pm
Pritzker At McCormick

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday projected state government will be $2.7 billion in the red before the current fiscal year ends June 30 because of the economic disaster wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the state is not taking in tax revenue it had anticipated when much of the economy shut down in March. Businesses have closed, cutting off sales and other taxes as the state has had to make emergency expenditures. Illinois also extended the time residents have to file their personal income taxes — and pay any money owed to Springfield — until July 15, which is in the next fiscal year.

“This crisis will take us off course for a little while,” Pritzker said at his daily briefing on coronavirus. "We must put ourselves back on track as soon as we can."

Things will get worse in Fiscal 2121, with a revenue-spending gap estimated at $6.2 billion, Pritzker said. That sum includes short-term borrowing the state will need to repay. Agency budget cuts are expected to help stem the financial bleeding.

Pritzker, however, said if voters don’t approve a November ballot referendum turning the state income tax into a graduated system, with wealthier people paying more, the budget gap in the coming fiscal year would grow to $7.4 billion.

He said it will be up to voters to decide whether the tax overhaul -- an idea floated long before the COVID-19 crisis -- is appropriate to approve at this time.

Also Wednesday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,346 new coronavirus cases, including 80 deaths. The state's total caseload grows to 24,593, including 948 deaths.