On February 15, Governor JB Pritzker presented his combined State of the State and Budget Address before a joint session of the Illinois Senate and House. During the 55-minute speech, Governor Pritzker outlined a $49.6 billion General Fund spending plan for Fiscal Year 2024. At the conclusion of the address, State Senator Seth Lewis (R-Bartlett) issued the following statement:
“Illinois is located in the heart of the nation. It is a major transportation hub with state-of-the-art institutions and a remarkable and educated workforce. Our state is ripe for economic development, and we need to work in a bipartisan manner on policies that will grow our economy and create opportunities for future investment. Greatness is at our fingertips. We just need to ensure we have dedicated and existing funding streams to allocate toward policy ideals we all share, like public safety, education for kids, and providing services for the disabled, which have all been underfunded for years.
“The Governor presented some laudable goals today, but overall he proposed increasing permanent, year-to-year spending by $3 billion. As we head toward a likely recession, I was hoping to hear a speech that focused on controlled spending and fiscal restraint. Unfortunately, what we heard was a list of spending priorities that do not align with Illinois’ fiscal realities.
“I fear the Governor’s budget priorities are setting the stage for a massive tax increase in the very near future. My constituents are desperate for tax relief, and what I heard today was a recipe for a tax hike. Still, today’s speech is a starting point for discussions on the Fiscal Year 2024 budget. I look forward to a respectful give and take of ideas so we can come together on a spending plan that benefits all Illinoisans.”