SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday morning, April 19 signed a nearly $46.5 billion state budget into law that aims to fight near-record inflation by giving $1.8 billion back to taxpayers.
“The budget I’m signing into law today brings real improvements to the lives of working families and sets us up for a stronger fiscal future,” Pritzker said during a news conference Tuesday. “Investments in stronger schools, modernized airports and newly paved highways, hundreds of thousands of well-paying infrastructure jobs and a better-funded pension system … These are the kind of priorities we can invest in when our state is governed responsibly.”
The 3,400-page fiscal plan does the following for Illinois families:
- Suspends the tax on groceries for one year.
- Freezes the motor fuel tax for six months.
- Provides $520 million for a one-time property tax rebate – 5% of property taxes paid, up to $300 per household.
- Permanently expands the earned income tax credit from 18% to 20% of the federal credit while expanding the number of households covered.
- Provides $685 million for direct rebate checks to working families, $50 per individual and $100 per up to three dependents.
- Provides families with a “Back to School” sales tax holiday on clothing and school supplies for a week in August and doubles the tax credit for teachers who buy classroom supplies.
“Families are struggling, and I hope this budget provides them a bit of relief,” Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) said.
While the rebate checks had bipartisan support, State Sen. Win Stoller (R-Peoria) said the rebate pales in comparison to salary increases awarded to lawmakers.
"These are election-year gimmicks and election-year gains," Stoller said on News 8 THIS WEEK with Jim Mertens. "We gave them $50 checks while we gave ourselves $2,800."
Later on Tuesday, Stoller released the following statement:
“While the people of Illinois continue to struggle with ballooning inflation and out-of-control taxes, the Governor has signed a budget that spends $46.5 billion, including a $2.8 billion increase in the state’s operational spending, and only provides temporary tax relief.
“People of Illinois wanted and deserved a budget that provided them with real and permanent tax relief, instead they got election-year gimmick relief and permanent spending.”
Listen to the entire interview with Sen. Stoller on THE CITIES PODCAST.
Among its highlights, the budget also:
- Dedicates $1 billion to the state's "rainy day" fund for emergencies and creates permanent funding for it.
- Supports violence prevention, youth diversion programs and early childhood education.
- Invests in 300 additional State Police troopers and grants for body cameras, retention programs and less-lethal device training for local law enforcement.
- Increases funding for the Monetary Award Program and expands the maximum award to 50% tuition at public universities.
- Invests in preserving and expanding health care in underserved and rural areas.
- Increases funding to mental health care and community-based substance use disorder treatment and allocates money to implement the 988 Call Center and Crisis Response for those experiencing a mental health crisis.
- Provides an additional $90 million to the state's Low-Income Household Energy Assistance Program.
In addition, the 2023 fiscal budget directs Illinois' remaining $4 billion in federal COVID-19-relief funds to aid businesses, health care providers and families.