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More budget details (Updated)

Wednesday, Feb 21, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* More info here and here. The governor’s budget office briefed reporters this morning on this year’s proposal and a couple of stories have popped up since then. I tipped subscribers yesterday about this corporate net operating loss deductions thing mentioned by the Tribune

Facing a tighter budget outlook, Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday unveiled a $52.7 billion election-year spending plan built on more than $800 million in tax increases that would largely fall on businesses, from large corporations to state-regulated sportsbooks. […]

The governor also proposes extending a cap on losses large corporations can write off on their state income taxes, which he estimates will generate another $526 million in annual revenue. The current annual cap of $100,000 is set to expire Dec. 31, but Pritzker proposes raising the limit to $500,000 and allowing it to continue.

Pritzker also is proposing a permanent repeal of the 1% sales tax on groceries, which he and the Democratic-controlled legislature previously suspended for one year in 2022, when the governor was running for reelection.

Lastly, Pritzker is dusting off a previous unsuccessful plan to limit the tax discount retailers receive for collecting sales tax, which his office estimates would generate another $101 million annually.

That tax discount thing has been tried for years, but IRMA always beats it back.

* Here’s a Sun-Times excerpt

The plan also includes transferring mass transit costs from sales tax to the state’s Road Fund, to take in an additional $175 million.

Pritzker’s budget team is also aiming to hasten the state’s pension funding ramp with an eye toward landing another credit upgrade from Wall Street ratings agencies.

Since 1994, the state has been on a slog toward filling the gap in the grossly underfunded system to 90% by 2045. Pritzker’s team is adjusting that goal to reach 100% funding by 2048 — closer to pension goals set by many other states.

The governor’s team says they can make that happen in part with savings from paying off two other major bonds issued by the state over the next decade. Pritzker will need legislative approval for the pension proposal.

Pritzker also wants to more than double the state tax on sports betting revenue collected by casino sportsbooks from 15% to 35%, a proposal that’s sure to draw pushback from a rapidly expanding industry that raked in more than $1 billion in 2023. The governor’s team predicts such a hike could pump an additional $200 million into state coffers.

…Adding… Hmm

Compare that to the five-year forecast from November.

* From the governor…

More on that here. And this is from the speech

Illinois will become the first state in the nation to ban prior authorization for in-patient adult and children’s mental health care. That means patients suffering a mental health crisis can get the care they need without jumping through hoops designed to deny coverage. And we are going to make sure that insurance plans publicly post all treatments that require prior authorization, so consumers can compare plans when they are shopping for coverage.

* Also from the speech

Today, nearly every call to the [DCFS] abuse and neglect hotline is answered immediately. That’s up from only 50% back in 2019. Of the more than 94,525 investigations conducted last year by DCFS, 99.7% were initiated within 24 hours. And within seven days, 96% of children have been seen by an investigator. With an additional $14 million in funding in FY25, DCFS will reach a headcount of 4,000 staff for the first time in more than two decades.

* This is a fraction of what’s been requested

My budget also proposes investing $12 million to create a Child Tax Credit for families raising our youngest children. By targeting this investment at low and middle-income families with children under 3, we can put money back in the pockets of our newest parents who need it most and make those early years just a little bit easier.

* Homelessness

And we know that Black individuals and families make up 61% of the unhoused while making up only 14% of the overall population. So, this year, we created a racial equity roundtable on Black homelessness—the only effort of this kind in the entire nation. To advance that work, I am proposing an additional $50 million to attack the root causes of housing insecurity for Black Illinoisans, while continuing to serve other at-risk populations like veterans and those who are medically vulnerable with the shelter and wraparound services they need.

* And this

Now, I expect that some of you will want to spend more, and some of you will claim you want to spend less. Know this: I am always open to good ideas that members of both parties have to more efficiently and effectively fulfill our obligations. 
My one line in the sand is that I will only sign a budget that is responsibly balanced and that does not diminish or derail the improving credit standing we have achieved for the last five years. 


  1. - George Ryan Reynolds - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 1:18 pm:

    The insurance bit was good stuff politically. Everyone, regardless of party, has a horror story about insurance companies denying coverage to them or a family member. Insurance companies an easy target.

  2. - thisjustinagain - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 1:41 pm:

    So the 90% of pension funding by 2045 isn’t possible, but by 2048 they’ll fund 100%?? Looks like the can gets kicked down the road yet again, under the cover of budgetary assumptions of paid-off bond issues.

  3. - MG85 - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 1:59 pm:

    Prior authos are a bane in everyone’s existence who cannot afford healthcare out of pocket. That means 99.9% of Illinoisians. To eliminate this private-sector bureaucratic nightmare is the stuff presidential candidates are made of.

  4. - south loop baseball team - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 2:57 pm:

    why just forbid prior auth for in-patient mental health care? aren’t people who receive out-patient treatment entitled to the same benefit? isn’t it possible that allowing a patient to have the treatment ordered by his doctor could prevent these patients from hospital stays?

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