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Lawmakers could return briefly in May to address budget, other critical issues

Lawmakers could return briefly in May to address budget, other critical issues

State revenues plunge, likely leaving an even bigger budget hole than expected

By PETER HANCOCK
Capitol News Illinois
phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com

Gov. JB Pritzker on Tuesday said the General Assembly might begin meeting before the end of May to address a handful of critical issues, including the state budget.

“This is a big state and representatives come from all over the state, hours away, so it may be very difficult to do a lot during the month of May, and certainly while we’re in a stay-at-home order and need to remain in this order,” he said during his daily COVID-19 update Tuesday in Chicago.

According to the latest revenue reports, lawmakers might have a bigger budget hole to fill when they return than was initially feared.

The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, or CoGFA, reported that base revenues in April came in $2.6 billion lower than the same month last year, largely because the state pushed the income tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15. CoGFA also reported that total revenues so far this year are now $1 billion below last year’s level, with two months remaining in the fiscal year.

In mid-April, Pritzker said Illinois would likely come up $2.7 billion short in the current fiscal year, and $6.2 billion short in the fiscal year that begins July 1. Those were based on estimates from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, which works closely with CoGFA. But CoGFA said it will be “recalibrating” its estimates over the coming days.

Asked when he plans to release concrete details of the budget adjustments he will recommend, Pritzker said he is working with members of the General Assembly.

“I know they have plans, thinking about getting together in May, and so my hope is that we’ll be able to work together on a budget for the year,” he said. “This is clearly the most unusual budget that anybody will have ever seen, because who has ever seen — at least in our lifetimes — the drop-off of revenue because of a pandemic? And so there’s no doubt there’s going to have to be a lot of collaboration, even across the aisle, to get things done.”

 

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