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Roundup: Governor Pritzker’s State of the State, budget address (Updated x2)

Wednesday, Feb 21, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

…Adding… Capitol News Illinois

Gov. JB Pritzker plans to take on the state’s health insurance industry this year by calling for legislation to curb many of the standard practices they use to hold down costs and boost profits.

He plans to outline those reforms in his State of the State and budget address Wednesday, according to an advance excerpt of his speech, kicking off a process that will eventually require approval from lawmakers.

Pritzker’s “Healthcare Consumer Access and Protection Act” will include a package of proposals aimed at controlling strategies that insurers use to reduce the amount of health care patients receive.

It also includes new requirements for insurers to offer enough in-network doctors to meet consumers’ needs, as well as state regulatory control over rate increases in the large group insurance plans similar to regulations lawmakers approved last year for small group policies.

…Adding… Pantagraph

Gov. J.B. Pritzker will call for the permanent repeal of the state’s 1% tax on groceries in his fiscal year 2025 budget proposal to be delivered Wednesday afternoon.

Repealing the tax, which is collected by the state and distributed to local governments, would save state taxpayers collectively about $350 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1, the governor’s office estimates.

* WTTW

If Illinois continues spending next fiscal year as it has been this year, the state will face an $891 million deficit. […]

The $891 million fiscal year 2025 deficit figure, which was projected in that November report by Pritzker’s own Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB), assumes a $350 million increase in the state’s main K-12 education funding formula, an annualized bump in cost for Medicaid enhancements and “moderate growth rates in the various categories of state spending.”

But it does not include what the report describes as “significant changes to base programs” which could bring savings, or could come with a cost. […]

Those factors led GOMB to revise up its revenue projections to $52 billion for the fiscal year, which runs through June.

Even after accounting for an extra $1 billion in revenues, pressures “that will offset the revenue gains including increased case load pressures at Department on Aging and DHS (Department of Human Services)” and “potential spending pressures related to asylum seekers at DHS,” GOMB said the state is set to end this 2024 fiscal year with a $422 million surplus – the opposite of the in-the-red situation lawmakers are staring down as they begin the budgeting process anew.

* Sun-Times

Following Cook County’s lead, Gov. J.B. Pritzker will propose investing $10 million of federal funds in his budget to erase more than $1 billion in medical debt for Illinois residents. […]

Pritzker will include the $10 million ask in his budget proposal for the next fiscal year — and the investment would mark the first year in a multi-year plan, the governor said in an interview with the Sun-Times on Tuesday.

“This first tranche of this for FY [fiscal year] 25 will remove the medical debt for 364,000 people. That’s just the first year of a multi-year plan and it’s a $1 billion of the $3 billion that remains outside of Cook County. So the first year — again $1 billion, 364,000 people will have this cloud removed.” […]

Of the nearly two million Illinois residents with medical debt in collection, 1.75 million are low-income, according to the governor’s office. The total amount of medical debt that can be acquired from those 1.75 million low-income residents is $4 billion — with 25% in Cook County.

* WBEZ

Pritzker wants to allocate more than $20 million in his proposed state budget to reduce health disparities and help prevent more Black women from dying before, during and after childbirth. He’s set to give his budget address on Wednesday, kicking off a round of negotiations for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The money for birth equity initiatives would help cover what can be expensive barriers for community-based providers, such as licensing fees for midwives who deliver babies or capital expenses to open birth centers.

Having enough staff has been another barrier for birth centers to stay open. In birth centers, patients can deliver their babies with a midwife on a big bed in a homelike atmosphere rather than in a hospital. […]

A state report last fall documented that while deaths among pregnant women are rare, they have increased across Illinois — and the majority of them were possibly preventable. More than half of the pregnancy-related deaths happened more than 60 days after the women gave birth.

* Crain’s

The governor’s office wants $500 million for quantum, the next generation in computing technology that’s only now moving from theory to practical application. About $300 million of the funding would go toward building a campus that would include a cryogenics facility — some early quantum computers operate at extremely cold temperatures. […]

It’s a bold ask at a time when the state faces what could be its most challenging budget in several years, with a potential deficit as spending needs grow in human services, health care, pensions and government health insurance, as well as the migrant crisis.

But Pritzker can point to wins on the EV front with Stellantis and battery maker Gotion. And his early $200 million investment in quantum technology efforts at the University of Chicago and University of Illinois have paid off with large federal grants and commitments by private companies, such as Google and IBM.

“We have heard from companies who have been in discussions with the state of Illinois about a location in North America and have said to us: ‘If we want to be co-located somewhere, you would be attractive for all of your existing tech assets. How can you help us source the location?’ ” Richards says. “It’s about building out a campus and a cryogenics facility.”

She declined to say where the facility would be built.

* Capitol News Illinois

Republicans in the Illinois Senate indicated Tuesday that their sticking point for budget negotiations this year will be the same as it was last year – state spending on programs for noncitizens and recent arrivals from the country’s southern border.

In what’s been a rarity over the past five years, Senate Republicans were in on budget negotiations with their Democratic counterparts last year until the legislative session neared its end. But when the final budget bill materialized in the waning days of May, no Republican supported it. […]

Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday is set to lay out his vision for the upcoming fiscal year 2025, which begins July 1. Because Democrats hold supermajorities in both the House and Senate, Republican votes aren’t necessarily needed to pass a spending plan.

Still, Curran said he’d like to engage with Democrats to the same extent his caucus did during his first year as its leader.

* More…

       

13 Comments
  1. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 9:48 am:

    ==their sticking point for budget negotiations this year will be the same as it was last year – state spending on programs for noncitizens and recent arrivals from the country’s southern border==

    These people are here. They have to be taken care of. What do the Republicans want done here? Ignore them? Let them rot in the streets?


  2. - Aaron B - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 9:53 am:

    And in the next breath after complaining about recent arrivals from the southern border the repubs will probably also complain about how people don’t want to work any more. I’m pretty sure these noncitizens do want to work as soon as they have the legal ability to do so.


  3. - Steve - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 10:06 am:

    -These people are here-

    Do you want to pay higher taxes? Just say so. Poor migrants do use public assistance programs which cost money.


  4. - Annon'in - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 10:34 am:

    Two quick points
    1, The GOPie Senate guy should check his score card, His support for citizens has been largely “no” votes during his career.
    2. There is some irony that a governor finally takes the need to better fund maternal health during an election cycle destined to take out Mary Flowers. The woman has crusaded on the topic for many years. Too bad success comes after she spun off the rails.
    Hope it is a great speech.


  5. - Al - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 10:39 am:

    With the Income Tax increase the Revenue increased $6 billion, from $14 to $20 billion. Yet here we are with nearly a billion dollar deficit. Wonder how much of the $601 million in costs not timely submitted to Federal CMS was not collected by Healthcare & Family Services?


  6. - Perrid - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 10:39 am:

    Steve, if we allow them to work they also pay taxes


  7. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 10:43 am:

    ==Do you want to pay higher taxes? Just say so.==

    You didn’t answer my question. They are here. They have to be taken care of. Exactly what would you have the state do? Ignore them. If that’s your answer have the guts and just say so.


  8. - Steve Rogers - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 11:00 am:

    =What do the Republicans want done here? Ignore them? Let them rot in the streets?=

    The answer is yes and yes.


  9. - Give Me A Break - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 11:31 am:

    “Do you want to pay higher taxes? Just say so. Poor migrants do use public assistance programs which cost money.”

    Well is your alternative having them treated in hospital ERs? They will seek treatment, and you insurance rates will go up if they go to ERs for basic medical needs.


  10. - H-W - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 11:35 am:

    @ Steve

    I disagree.


  11. - King Louis XVI - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 11:52 am:

    –Gov. J.B. Pritzker will call for the permanent repeal of the state’s 1% tax on groceries in his fiscal year 2025 budget proposal to be delivered Wednesday afternoon.

    Repealing the tax, which is collected by the state and distributed to local governments, would save state taxpayers collectively about $350 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1, the governor’s office estimates.–

    Well, JB is inflating his $891M deficit, which casts doubt on its credibility. Again.

    The wolf has cried budget deficit for each of the last three years.


  12. - Joe Bidenopolous - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 1:05 pm:

    Steve said
    =Do you want to pay higher taxes? Just say so. Poor migrants do use public assistance programs which cost money.=

    No one wants to pay higher taxes but some of us recognize that we can’t let other human beings starve and freeze. I can only assume you disagree. How very Christian of you.


  13. - Candy Dogood - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 11:40 pm:

    ===The governor’s office wants $500 million for quantum===

    If we’re going to really normalize referring to quantum computers and other quantum devices broadly as just the term “quantum” I suppose I’d just better get used to being frustrated by folks trying to develop short hand terms to describe technological advancements based on scientific concepts on which they may not be clear. “Money for quantum” makes as little sense as the phrase “money for classical” or “money for micro” or “money for macro.”

    ===And his early $200 million investment in quantum technology efforts at the University of Chicago and University of Illinois have paid off with large federal grants and commitments by private companies, such as Google and IBM. ===

    I support publicly funded research, however I strongly question the economic benefit Illinois would have for spending this money this way. Will we own the facility? Will we charge researchers for using our facility? How exactly does this public outlay “pay off?” They’re using the term pa off. Does Illinois get to own a portion of the patents that our spending makes possible?

    We don’t print money. The federal government prints money. A $500 million dollar outlay represents $500 million that we specifically did not spend on a different public good or service.

    Did the first $200 million cause the state to receive an additional $200 million in tax revenue? Is that what they mean when they say “pay off?” or did our outlay simply cause other entities to put up other funding with the only benefit being that that funding is going to one of our universities?

    How long will it take for revenues that are the direct result of this $500 million dollar investment in quantum technology to equal $500 million dollars?

    I don’t understand why it should be a priority for the State of Illinois to direct our public funds to make it easier for some of the largest and most valuable companies that have ever existed in the history of humanity to develop new technology that will bring them billions upon billions of dollars in revenue — revenue that will be apportioned to the state where it is earned based on technological advancements they are going to work on anyhow.

    Is this really a responsible use of public funds?


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