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Quick budget preview

Wednesday, Feb 17, 2021

* Dan Petrella at the Tribune

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday will propose rolling back several tax policies he agreed to in 2019 to win Republican support for his infrastructure plan and budget in his first year in office, according to sources familiar with the plan.

The proposed tax policy changes, aimed at closing what Pritzker describes as $932 million in “corporate tax loopholes,” include: […]

The tax policies Pritzker is targeting were part of an eleventh-hour deal he struck with House Republican leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs in 2019 to help deliver major legislative wins for the rookie Democratic governor.

More recently, Pritzker has blamed Republicans and their allies in the business community for helping defeat his preferred budget solution — a graduate-rate income tax — at the ballot box in November.

Click here for the list. The House Republicans are not happy campers, of course.

* WCIA

In a preview of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s third budget address on Wednesday, Comptroller Susana Mendoza (D-Illinois) warned state lawmakers against a temptation to redirect any federal Coronavirus relief funds towards pet projects.

“I do not want the legislators, or anyone else for that matter, to get excited about any new federal stimulus dollars coming in,” Mendoza said Tuesday afternoon. “Because honestly, it’s not going to be like Christmas morning. There is not going to be a new Lexus in the state’s driveway with the big red bow.”

Mendoza said any federal relief funding, which President Joe Biden’s administration has floated in his American Rescue Plan, would effectively help the state prevent “our family pickup truck from being repossessed,” she said. “That’s how people should see this. Those dollars are spoken for.”

“We have to learn to live within our means,” she said. “We cannot count on future revenues from federal stimulus towards this budget.”

Plenty more at the link, so read the rest.

* Daily Herald

State Rep. Fred Crespo, a Hoffman Estates Democrat and the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said Pritzker’s expected education funding plan will be a “big issue of contention” if it doesn’t pay for the state’s evidence-based education model. Pritzker last week said he is confident that “significant federal funding for education will provide additional support for schools while the state maintains its existing investment.”

The evidence-based model of education funding approved by lawmakers in 2017 promised to inject $350 million of new money into education every year. However, that did not happen in 2020, and Pritzker’s initial overview made no mention of the $350 million this year.

“(Pritzker is) feeling federal dollars can be used to offset $350 million, but it doesn’t work that way,” Crespo said.

State Rep. Terra Costa-Howard, a Glen Ellyn Democrat and a member of the House K-12 appropriations committee, said the state’s education system cannot afford to miss the $350 million payment again.

Again, there’s more, so go read the rest.

* You can watch the address at noon by clicking here, here or here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

13 Comments
  1. - Candy Dogood - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 9:57 am:

    ===“We have to learn to live within our means,” she said.===

    Illinois has a structural gap between it’s revenues and it’s spending that is projected to get worse as we’re currently on the hook to pay for pension benefits that “we” didn’t want to pay for in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.

    When an elected official of any party makes a statement like the one Comptroller Mendoza has provided they should be required to immediately explain which programs they want to see cut or which revenues they want to see increased and how.

    Our elected officials must be broken of the habit of making bland and generic statements related to our fiscal health that are meaningless on their surface. We’re not a family of 4 struggling on two working class incomes, we’re a state of 12 million people with a GDP that was nearing 900 billion dollars in 2019. This statement is a meaningless platitude that contributes nothing of substance to resolving our state’s structural budget issues and using platitudes like this further masks or disguises the problem.

    If an elected official wants to talk like that, the immediate expectation should be to identify specific cuts or specific revenues, or to have press coverage about their statement to be “_____ thinks there is a problem, but is incapable of identifying a solution.”

    Using language people like to point at a problem doesn’t solve the problem. Complaining about our state’s fiscal situation is incredibly easy. No body likes it. Especially not the people who are responsible for it because god forbid you talk to a Baby Boomer about how they didn’t pay enough taxes for the services they received, or suggest a tax on any amount of retirement income to pass part of the burden created by our retirees and the people they elected over the last 4 or 5 decades on to them.

    This is a disappointing statement from Comptroller Mendoza.

    This would be a disappointing statement from any elected official in Illinois.


  2. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 10:13 am:

    =Pritzker last week said he is confident that “significant federal funding for education will provide additional support for schools=

    He was also confident that the progressive income tax would pass.


  3. - Jocko - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 10:14 am:

    ==god forbid you talk to a Baby Boomer about how they didn’t pay enough taxes for the services they received==

    Not to mention those over 65 who currently pay zero (yes, ZERO) in state income tax. ::cue the “But, but, but…I pay such-and-such in property taxes, sales taxes, and the like.”::


  4. - Ducky LaMoore - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 10:19 am:

    Donnie Elgin, you are correct. But perhaps that was a learning situation.


  5. - Captain Obvious - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 10:20 am:

    I don’t see anyone stopping the press from reporting on politicians in the manner you suggest, Candy. So why don’t they? You and I both know the answer to that question. Why doesn’t the press ask for specifics and then raise holy hades when they don’t get them?


  6. - SSL - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 10:25 am:

    People over 65 don’t pay income taxes on pensions, social security or 401k distributions, but they do pay income taxes on other income. You know, like salaries or investment income.

    There’s a reason why politicians don’t want to incur the wrath of seniors. They bring a lot to the table and they are often times quite mobile. The climate in Illinois doesn’t exactly rate at the top end of the scale. I agree that having certain retirement income be tax exempt is quite attractive to seniors, and the state is missing an opportunity for some much needed revenue. Changing that will have more than one impact however. JB knows it.


  7. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 10:34 am:

    =More recently, Pritzker has blamed Republicans and their allies in the business community for helping defeat his preferred budget solution — a graduate-rate income tax — at the ballot box in November=

    Blaming the “GOP” for a failure of a CA ballot initiative that had obvious bi-partisan support at 53.4% is a dangerous game. JB need s to be more self-reflective and look at the failings of those advocating for the progressive income tax.


  8. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 10:39 am:

    For decades Illinois borrowed from its pension funds. We’re ever so slowly repaying that, but doing so by borrowing from vendors now. By FY26, we could have as much as $33 billion in unpaid bills at current spending.

    We are on an unsustainable path. The income tax needs to be increased and spending needs to be controlled so that it doesn’t exceed revenues. Not a very popular solution, but it seems to be the only one left.


  9. - Not for nothing - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 10:40 am:

    Candy - Mendoza’s MO is to demonize. It’s what she’s good at. Don’t let her get under your skin.


  10. - Collinsville Kevin - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 10:43 am:

    If one’s job is to submit a balanced budget, perhaps Mendoza should be listened to.


  11. - Candy Dogood - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 10:47 am:

    === You and I both know the answer to that question.===

    If we both know the answer to that question, I am certain our answers are different.

    ===Why doesn’t the press ask for specifics and then raise holy hades when they don’t get them? ===

    There has been significant consolidation of pretty much all forms of media with multiple positions dedicated to being a state house reporter being eliminated. It takes time, effort, dedication, and specialization to be able to cover a topic well and in a way that is meaningful.

    Media, especially television news media, is driven by audience share rather than anything that would directly relate to providing good and informative coverage of things that people do not want to hear to the point where there is a high probability that a journalist will report almost the exact content of a press release with no examination. Elected officials also hire people who are very away of this process as well.

    And then get a gander at what the Chicago Tribune does at the beck and call of it’s Hedge Fund ownership. If you solely read their Op-Ed you’d think Illinois was a socialist post apocalyptic ruin where everyone died of COVID-19 because no one got vaccinated.

    So frankly, your blanket attempt to blame “the press” seems to dramatically over simplify the economic concerns that threaten the ability of our watch dogs of Democracy to remain so.

    Comptroller Mendoza is an intelligent and competent public official. She knows her statement is meaning and does nothing to address the problem.

    But if a reporter calls her on it — that reporter risks damaging a relationship with her, her office and if someone wants to report accurately about the cause of the State’s fiscal situation and what it takes to fix it, that reporter risks reporting unpopular news and becoming a foil for lunatics that would sooner see their neighbors die than wear a mask.

    So, I don’t think the answer to “why” is as simple as you think it is, and I don’t appreciate your effort to lump me into whatever your shallow understanding of the issue is.

    Asking Grandma and Grandpa to pay their fair share in this state is considered a 3rd rail for a reason.

    It’s hard to ask people to acknowledge their role in our state’s fiscal health, and for some reason there are a bunch of people who would have paid lower taxes under the Fair Tax amendment who are gullible enough to support and continue to support elected officials who would screw an overwhelming number of their constituents.

    Earned media remains free media for a politician or elected official, but there’s still two sides to that coin.


  12. - Perrid - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 10:51 am:

    If Crespo wants to add $350 million for schools, show me what taxes he’s going to raise or what other services he’s gonna cut. Come to me with solutions, not just problems.

    Same with the Republicans, of course. If they don’t want businesses to chip in more, or anyone to chip in more, who are we gonna cut?

    And please, please, PLEASE don’t mention the pensions. That hope is a lie, a pipedream. Never gonna happen. Even if you get it done in the GA, and the governor signs it, and the voters ratify the CA, then SCOTUS will almost certainly crush it because it makes no sense to allow one party in a contract to unilaterally change the terms of said contract. IT. WILL. NOT. HAPPEN. I’m not arguing whether or not it should happen, I’m telling you it won’t.

    Advocating for firing 3% of the state workforce would be more practical, and THAT’S not really practical at all.


  13. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 12:16 pm:

    Candy for the win, all the way around.


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